Sunday, October 21, 2012

Beatrix & Rex



(about BEATRIX & REX: 

How often have I said to my fellow Writers, a great story must start in a Starbucks Cafe in Budapest. Will they listen to me? No.

Kind regards,

David Steinhoff,
C.E.O.)


INT. STARBUCKS, BUDAPEST - DAY
REX takes his coffee from the server and stands looking out the window. He sees the STRANGER sitting deep in his thoughts on the window counter seat, bottle of water by his side.
REX
You're wearing a pink tie.
STRANGER
I like a bit of color.
REX
Looks good.
STRANGER
It is a dangerous world out there. It is important how you look.
REX
It is dangerous for me. How is it dangerous for you? What if you don't mind my asking is your profession?
STRANGER
I work for FBI.
REX
Really?
STRANGER
Would I lie?
REX
Aren't FBI agents spies and lying standard practice for spies?
STRANGER
Not in the ordinary course of duty.
REX
But it is not in the course of duty that you are talking to me now.
STRANGER
I am talking to you because I know you are in trouble.
REX
Why do you say that?
STRANGER
Your name is on the monitor.
REX
(quickly looking around the cafe)
What monitor? What are you talking about?
STRANGER
This conversation is over.
Rex looks at the STRANGER and calculates. About 50 years old. On his left wrist, a Swiss Watch. On the right wrist, a heavy gold chain. Hand tailored business suit. The STRANGER looks back calmly as REX examines him. REX turns away and walks over to the girl at the service counter.
REX
Does the FBI come in here?
STARBUCKS SERVER
Yes, all the time. The American Embassy is just around the corner.
REX
Oh.
STARBUCKS SERVER
(like talking to a child)
Have you done anything you shouldn’t?
REX
All the time. I’ve had to ask two American Embassies for help.
STARBUCKS SERVER
Oh.

He walks back over and stands in front of the STRANGER who as before is looking down, deep in thought.
REX

Hell.
REX tears out of Starbucks. Walks down the street, checks his watch. An unexceptionable car pulls up and stops. The very pretty driver, BEATRIX, leans over and unlocks the passenger door.
REX (CONT’D)
You don’t want to kill me?
BEATRIX
I’ll tell you later. Get in.
He does, and Beatrix drives off.
REX
What did Gabor say?
BEATRIX
About what?
REX
What have you told him about me? That you married me only to get a visa?
BEATRIX
Yes.
REX
And does he believe you? What does he say?
BEATRIX
He asked about sex. He said, he gets sex and doesn’t have to pay?
REX
Life’s unfair. Tell him I apologize.
BEATRIX
You’re an idiot.
REX
And I suppose you tell him you’ll go back to him when you have your visa?
BEATRIX
Yes.
REX
And will you?
BEATRIX
Yes. Maybe.
REX
Why?
BEATRIX
I like the lifestyle. Every day go to the gym, go shopping, go to restaurants, every month travel to foreign countries....
REX
No love, no friendship, nothing learned, lying and self deception.
BEATRIX
That’s why I left him. I kept trying to love him, but I couldn’t.
REX
What was wrong with him, what made him so unlovable?
BEATRIX
He’s a pervert. He’s obsessed with prostitutes. He drinks all the time.
REX
You married the drunken perverted whoremaster.
BEATRIX
I was a young girl from a village in Hungary. He was a millionaire with houses all over the world.
REX
Now you are an older girl married to an American, realizing your dream to become American, and still you are going back to the pervert after you get your longed for visa.
BEATRIX
Yes. You’re not a serious man.
REX
Serious meaning having money.
BEATRIX
Yes.
REX
Why do you need money?
BEATRIX
To have a beautiful life.
REX
Life with me is not beautiful?
BEATRIX
You live in a dream world. It is beautiful but not real.
REX
Why isn’t it real? Why is only money real?
BEATRIX
This is a ridiculous conversation.
REX
Why is only money real? You have everything you need already.
BEATRIX
No. I am not like you. I have ambitions.
REX
I have ambitions. For doing things I don’t need anyone’s help with, don’t have to compromise for. Why do you have to be ambitious for money, sell yourself for money?
BEATRIX
Everyone sells himself. To make an impression, get sex, get a job.
REX
Ask your ex-husband, I don’t pay for sex. And don’t sell myself either.
BEATRIX
And look where you are.
REX
Where am I?
BEATRIX
Aren’t you worried about the future? You’re getting older. You have nothing.
REX
And you will be gone, and I will have no one and nothing.
BEATRIX
Right.
REX
I’ll find something. Some way to live. I’ll be alright. Probably.
They are driving now onto the freeway that leads out of the city into the countryside.
BEATRIX
You’ll die, with nobody to take care of you.
REX
You think you take care of me?
BEATRIX
Yes. If you don’t appreciate me you can get out here.
REX
Drop me at the next bus stop.
BEATRIX stands on the accelerator, changes lanes and stops on the freeway shoulder.
BEATRIX
Get out.
He gets out, the car pulls away in a spray of gravel.
CUT TO:


EXT. HILL OVERLOOKING BUDAPEST, CITADEL HOTEL - LATER
REX walks up the steep street, then through a passage in the castle wall. A restaurant doorway is on the right, on the left, stairs leading up to the castle courtyard are closed by a wrought iron gate. He enters a code on the wall pad and climbs the steps. The entrance to the Citadel, the circular castle within the fortress walls, is not far. He enters the lobby and approaches the Hotel reception desk.
PETER
Welcome back. Good to see you.
REX rests his shoulder bag on the floor and shakes PETER’s hand.
REX
Happy to be back. You don’t know how much.
PETER
Adventures?
REX
Marriage.
PETER
Sorry to hear that. You deserve some happiness. But you look well.
REX
You too. Can I stay here again?
PETER
Room 11? It’s free.
He selects a key from the set hanging on the wall behind the desk, and places it on the counter.
REX
I’m surprised you’re still open.
PETER
Me too. Do you remember when you came here first? 14 years. I remember you because of the watches. There was always a story.
REX
I’m finished with watches.
PETER
I don’t believe it. You love the business.
REX
I got married, one love drove out another. I’ll go to the room, we’ll talk later.
REX picks up his bag, walks down the circular passage that follows the castle wall. Photographs from an exhibit on the subject of “Children In War” are regularly spaced along the passage walls. The rooms on the left look out over the city, those on the right a small interior courtyard. Room 11 is on the right, just after the pictures of mass graves at German concentration camps, and is a ruin, in contrast to the well maintained public areas of the Citadel.
He traces with his finger the shadow on the wall showing where a poster has been removed. Six beds without headboards, sheets with no blankets, crowd the room. A couple of floor boards are missing by the radiator. Two worn arm chairs face two simple square tables. There is not a single decoration in the room.
Knocking on the door. REX opens the door to PETER.
PETER
There’s a call for you.
REX
I’m coming.
CUT TO:
INT. HOTEL RECEPTION - MOMENTS LATER
PETER from behind the counter hands REX the telephone receiver.
BEATRIX
I thought you’d go there. I can predict your every move.
REX
What am I going to do now?
BEATRIX
You are going to help me. Then you are coming home.
REX
I just got here. I’m staying.
BEATRIX
Listen, I need your advice. Gabor put 50,000 dollars in a bank account in his name and mine. I have a bank statement showing enough money to get the American visa. But he left instructions with the bank closing the account tomorrow.
REX
Where are you now?
CUT TO:
EXT. CAR ON FREEWAY FROM AIRPORT - NIGHT
BEATRIX
I just dropped Gabor off at the airport. I’m driving to the West End Shopping Center. The bank branch there is open until 8 tonight. Do you think they will give me the money?
REX
He’s given you access for a day? Did he tell you not to withdraw the money?
BEATRIX
He didn’t think of it. He thought I couldn’t.
REX
Did he tell you he was planning to defraud the American government by producing a false document showing you had access to money you didn't have access to?
BEATRIX
- He said he could explain that he simply changed his mind later.
REX
So the money is yours as far as you know until he changes his mind?
BEATRIX
Yes.
REX
I think you should try to get your money, because it is yours for the day. The bank statement is worthless. We can't send a false financial statement to the American government.
BEATRIX
OK, I'll go now.
CUT TO:
INT. HOTEL RECEPTION - MOMENTS LATER
PETER
Is everything alright?
REX
It’s my wife. She’s plotting.
REX hands PETER the telephone receiver.
REX (CONT’D)
Sit down and talk?
PETER
Of course. Can I offer you a coffee from our new machine? It wasn’t here when you were last time.
PETER operates the coffee vending machine, and takes the two plastic cups of instant cappuccino over to the comfortable sofas and chairs in the lobby, where they sit down.
PETER (CONT’D)
Have you heard about Alex?
REX
I ran into him in Paris not long ago.
PETER
He’s aging fast.
REX
He’s falling apart. 77 now.

PETER
So you know he left the Citadel and moved in with a woman.
REX
A Russian prostitute he used to meet every night at the Marriot. He had an open account paid by his Microsoft billionaire.
PETER
You know all that?
REX
Sure. I even know he met his billionaire when 18 years ago he answered a classified ad in Seattle for a French tutor. Alex ended up being language instructor and all-around errand boy for him.
CUT TO:
EXT. PARIS STREET LATIN QUATER - DAY
ALEX
The Romantic Writer from the Citadel!
REX
That’s me.
ALEX
In room 11 I found a print of an essay you wrote. It was a f#ck*n' masterpiece. Everything was in it. What happened with it?
REX
Nothing.
ALEX
Then what’s new? You disappeared from the hotel, we were worried. What happened to you?
REX
I got married to a Hungarian girl. In fact, I’ve got a Hungarian billionaire in my life too, at least in my wife’s life.
ALEX
You’re really legally married?
REX
Yes.
ALEX
Where?
REX
A Budapest District marriage office. Want to see pictures? Maybe my billionaire knows your billionaire.
ALEX
Mine is a snob, hangs around Austrian aristocrats, von This or Thats.
REX
Mine writes on his Facebook profile that he loves celebrities. It’s the same bunch. He is supposed to have made his money in financial speculation. I wrote him a message, one husband to another.
ALEX
What did you say? How come your wife didn’t get any money from him if they were really married? Why didn’t you get any money from your wife if she did? You don’t look any richer.
REX
I’m not. It wasn’t easy for her taking his money. She said she did her best to convince herself she was in love with him, but couldn’t manage it. He wanted something in exchange for every dollar spent on her. Right after we got married he offered her a thousand dollars a day to go visit him at his “Chateau” in the South of France for five days. She went against my protest. The beginning of the end of the marriage.
ALEX
Five Thousand dollars. Where’s the money?
REX
Hidden in some bank account somewhere, with her other money.
ALEX
Why didn’t you get a cut?
REX
I wasn’t in that business.
ALEX
You were cheated.
REX
I was married, even if my wife wasn’t.
CUT TO:
INT. HOTEL LOBBY - NIGHT
PETER
Again, I’m sorry.
REX
About what?
PETER
Your marriage.
REX
Don’t be sorry. It’s the best thing I ever did.
PETER
You love her.
REX
Want to hear about our marriage ceremony? I arrived half hour early at the district office, a converted palace on the Korut.
CUT TO:
INT. DISTRICT MARRIAGE OFFICE BUDAPEST - DAY
The entry hall is open, but doors to all the offices are shut. REX takes a seat. It is cool and silent. Mysterious. Where is everybody? About ten minutes to twelve, the appointed hour, the street door lets in a rush of noise and REX recognizes BEATRIX’s friend from childhood who will be one of the witnesses. According to BEATRIX, she is against the marriage.
BEATRIX’S FRIEND
(sitting down beside REX)
Hello.
She almost immediately rises and goes out. Silence again in the hall. After another five minutes, the second witness arrives. Says hello, stands a moment, excuses himself and passes out through the door.
When it is noon, REX too goes outside. Maybe everyone is out there. But no one is. He goes back inside, take a seat again. In a rush the photographer friend of BEATRIX arrives with camera and her assistant.
REX
Is Beatrix coming?
Yes. They leave too, and the silence of the hall returns. And then the door opens once more, and BEATRIX sweeps in wearing a beautiful wedding gown.
BEATRIX
You're here.
She sits down next to REX.
BEATRIX (CONT’D)
Do you have rings? I forget to tell you to get them.
REX
I got one this morning at the second hand store when I bought my tie. I saw display of silver jewelry in a window across the street and bought this. It matches pretty well.
BEATRIX can barely keep her attention on REX’s words.
The two witnesses, the photographer-friend and assistant have returned, and are expressing their admiration for her dress. They all go out with BEATRIX to smoke. Silence again in the hall. Then the door opens, and the middle-aged civil servant who is to perform the ceremony appears, catches REX’s eye in passing on the way to her office. A building caretaker unlocks the doors to the ceremonial chamber and steps inside, closing the doors behind him. The quiet resumes. It's a lonely business, this getting married. And then everyone sweeps back in together.
BEATRIX
(to REX)
Come on!

REX joins the crowd going into the room for the ceremony.
REX
Your family’s not coming?
BEATRIX
I asked them. What about your friends?
REX
I asked. The opera singer...
BEATRIX
Quiet. It’s starting.
The ceremony is over in a matter of minutes. REX and BEATRIX sign the register, assemble together for a group photograph, whereupon BEATRIX’s PARENTS hurry in just in time to get into the picture. Everyone passes out of the chamber together, congratulatory remarks are made, and wife and husband stand together on the sidewalk alone. REX looks at BEATRIX in her wedding dress, she looks at him in his black tie.
EXT. BUDAPEST STREET - DAY
REX
What now?
BEATRIX
Let’s go return the dress. It’s rented only for the day.
They walk to the tram stop. The light is a soft glare this afternoon. A newly married couple on the tram is decorous and appreciated. REX waits downstairs while she goes up to the office to return the wedding dress and get into her street clothes. And then back on the tram.
INT. TRAM MOVING FROM STOP - DAY
BEATRIX
There’s a dinner at the house. Everyone will be there.
REX
Am I invited?
BEATRIX
Very funny. What do you want to do until then?
REX
Let's go home.
DISSOLVE TO:
INT. HOTEL LOBBY - NIGHT
PETER
I’m surprised at you.
REX
Why?
PETER
You’ve changed.
REX
I got married. It nearly killed me.
PETER
Yes. It’s that.
REX
Fell so hard I saw the truth? Do you know what saved me?
PETER
What?
REX
A find, a great project. The Memory Book. You remember the English Professor of Law I used to know? We’d meet almost everyday at the Odeon café when he was in Budapest. But this day the street has been blocked to traffic and thousands of agitated people are standing around.
CUT TO:
EXT. ODEON CAFE - DAY
REX stops a PHOTO-JOURNALIST as he walks past.
REX
What’s happening?
PHOTO JOURNALIST
See across the street? The Broadway ticket office. A member of a Neo-Nazi group went in to buy a ticket to a concert, was told the concert was sold out. He believed the Jewish owners of the agency wouldn’t sell to him because he wasn’t Jewish. He or someone else returned at night to smash the shop’s window, and began organizing on the internet a demonstration against Jews to be held outside the shop. A counter demonstration was organized, the police themselves are making a demonstration of force, blocking the street with barricades.
INT. ODEON CAFE - NIGHT
The PROFESSOR arrives as the doors to the cafe are unlocked from inside. He and REX go in, and sit down.
PROFESSOR
Your wife, my lover might join that crowd of haters. They say the same things. Are we self destructive?
REX
The women chose us, we accepted them.
PROFESSOR
Why did they choose us if not because they could sense that we were self destructive? That we would accept them?
REX
They chose us because they love us. We accepted them because we love being loved.
PROFESSOR
Loved for bad reasons.
REX
They think you and me benefit from being in a close community. That we help each other, but will do anything against everyone else. The best of both worlds. Community strength, private profit.
PROFESSOR
These women are with us because they want to be like us? Hard to believe.
REX
They hate us too.
PROFESSOR
Yes.
REX
Sometimes. When they feel alone and exposed, attacked by us with the strength of “our people”.
PROFESSOR
We’re playing a dangerous game with them.
CUT TO:
EXT. RESTAURANT WITH DOORS OPEN, TV HANGING FROM CEILING - NIGHT
REX walks by, stops in the restaurant doorway to watch the news broadcast.
A monitor in the window shows a news room. A photograph of the PROFESSOR projected behind the TELEVISION NEWS REPORTER seated at a desk.
TELEVISION NEWS REPORTER
A 38 year old law student taking classes in Human Rights Law is accusing her professor of sexual and personal misconduct, misusing his power as a teacher and destroying her life.
EXT. STRATFORD, ENGLAND, PROFESSOR’S HOUSE - DAY
A crowd of protestors carrying signs with the PROFESSOR’s picture has gathered on the front lawn.
CUT TO:
EXT. BUDAPEST APARTMENT BUILDING - NIGHT
REX unlocks the street door, climbs the stairs, and goes down the balcony passage. He stands outside the door to a dark apartment. Then he begins knocking, quietly at first, then louder.
CUT TO:
EXT. BUDAPEST STREET, UNIVERSITY LIBRARY ENTRANCE - NIGHT
REX walks through the doors of the Central European University, shows his identification to the guards, checks in his coat and is about to enter the library upstairs when his phone rings. “Private Caller”. Hungarian is spoken, then, “moment”, and an man speaking English comes on.
BUDAPEST POLICEMAN
This is the Budapest Police. You are requested to appear tomorrow at the district station at 10.
CUT TO:
INT. POLICE STATION OFFICE - DAY
REX and LAWYER and TRANSLATOR sit across the desk from the WOMAN POLICE OFFICER, apparently 20 years old. No expression on her face. A paper bag with her lunch sits on the desk.
LAWYER
(In Hungarian to POLICEWOMAN, then English to REX)
I placed a stipulation in the record. A husband trying to go home where he lives with his wife is not a crime.
The policewoman responds in Hungarian.
TRANSLATOR
She says they are investigating.
The POLICEWOMAN speaks again in Hungarian.
TRANSLATOR (CONT’D)
She wants to know how much money you make, whether or not you have a driver’s license, if you are a teacher of English.
REX
I’m living on savings from my watch business. I don’t have a current driving licence. I am not teaching English.
The TRANSLATOR repeats this information in Hungarian, the POLICEWOMAN replies.
TRANSLATOR
The investigation will be continued. They’ll let you know.
LAWYER and REX Leave the office together.
CUT TO:
EXT. BUDAPEST STREETS, SMALL HOTEL - DAY
REX walks to his hotel, enters. A YOUNG AMERICAN taking a break in his travelling working at the hotel, sits at the reception desk.
YOUNG TRAVELLER
You’re really in trouble this time, Rex. Three policemen were here and left this for you.
The YOUNG TRAVELLER hands REX a envelope. Inside is an official looking letter. REX reads, then stops abruptly and takes out his telephone.
REX
(on telephone)
I just got a letter from the Police. If I fax it to you can you translate it?
REX (CONT’D)
(to young traveller)
Can I use your fax?
The YOUNG TRAVELLER inserts the letter into the FAX machine. REX leaves the hotel.
CUT TO:
BUDAPEST STREETS, SMALL HOTEL - NIGHT
REX is walking down the street when his telephone rings.
REX’S LAWYER
New charges have been made. This is crazy. “Impersonating government officials.” You have to appear at another interrogation.
REX ends the call, then types in a message to the PROFESSOR: “Meet me at the Odeon. Important”.
CUT TO:
EXT STREET, ODEON CAFE - NIGHT
REX goes in the cafe. The PROFESSOR is already there.
REX
I wanted to leave this with you. I’m flying to Los Angeles tomorrow morning.
PROFESSOR
It’s a treasure. Where did you find it?
REX
One of those days you can take all your unwanted junk out into the street to be picked up by the city. Beds, tables, chairs, televisions, lamps. Just down the block I saw a crate filled with plastic video cassette boxes, but sitting on top this old cloth bound notebook, being rained on.
PROFESSOR
It’s a memory book. They used to be common. Young boys and girls had their family, teachers and friends write advice, encouragement, poems, and make pictures.
The PROFESSOR carefully turns the pages.
PROFESSOR (CONT’D)
This is a Star of David, of course. Obviously from a Jewish family. 1937, 1938, 1940, 1941. The dates speak for themselves. Time of persecution, the Nurenberg laws.
CUT TO:
INT. LOS ANGELES, SMALL GARDEN APARTMENT, - DAY
REX sits reading on his bed, BEATRIX works with her laptop at a table covered with papers. Classical music plays softly. Rex’s telephone rings.
BEATRIX
Who is it?
REX
Fed-ex. The memory book is here.. Go back to your school work.
BEATRIX
(without looking up from the screen)
Why? Where was it?
REX
The Professor had it in Budapest. But when he went home to England he left it with a publisher. They went bankrupt. And he went into hiding from his student-lover - you met her - when she accused him of sexual misconduct. The Publisher didn’t answer my e-mail. The Professor didn’t answer my e-mail. Finally he reappeared, wrote that he’d sent a research assistant to the publisher to get the book. Now it’s here.
BEATRIX
(still without looking up)
So he’s doing to his student what you’re doing to me.
REX
What’s that?
BEATRIX
(still without looking up)
Taking advantage of a young girl’s innocence.
CUT TO:

EXT. LOS ANGELES APARTMENT HOUSE, - DAY.
Express delivery truck parks outside the apartment house, REX meets the DELIVERY-MAN on the sidewalk and signs for the package.

CUT TO:
EXT. SIMON WEISENTHAL CENTER/HOLOCAUST MUSEUM, LOS ANGELES - DAY
REX rides up on his bicycle, locks it against a parking meter, takes the Fed-Ex package from his bag and goes inside the Museum.
CUT TO:

INT. HOTEL LOBBY - NIGHT
PETER
What about your wife? You’re still together?
REX
You know what they say. Not happy in love. Not happy with no one to love. Better to be unhappy and love.
PETER
If you can’t find someone else to be less unhappy in love with.
REX
If you can trade one love for another you’re not in love.
PETER
You’ll go back to her then.
REX
Yes. I always have. What would you do?
PETER
The same. Paris, Los Angeles. Where else have you been?
REX
Cyprus. A long time before I met Beatrix. Had adventures there.
PETER
Tell me about them.
REX
Did I ever tell you about my Serbian friend? A woman I met in Budapest? She was running from the NATO bombing, eventually ended up in Cyprus. She’d found herself a “protector” in a rich lawyer. She said that since I was “no one from no where”, I might as well go there.
CUT TO:
EXT. CYPRUS, HIGHWAY - DAY
REX and MELICA wait beside the road for a ride.
CUT TO:
SMALL WATCH SHOP, TOURIST TOWN, CYPRUS
WATCHMAKER
Are you married?
MELICA
Do we look like it?
WATCHMAKER
I don’t know. Maybe. What do you want?
REX
That’s the way you talk to your customers? I am a dealer in old watches. Do you have any for sale?
WATCHMAKER
At my shop in Limassol. I open it only one day a week. There’s no business. I have to work here, sell insurance during the week. I need money for my family. What does she do?
MELICA
I have a second-hand shop. Clothes mostly.
WATCHMAKER
You have a business relationship.
REX
What could be better?
The WATCHMAKER looks tall MELITA over, head to toe.
CUT TO:
EXT. CYPRUS, FLEA MARKET - DAY
REX walks his bike through the stands, stops before a table with old machine parts, and some watches. The middle-aged man with grease stained hands and clothes nods to him.
REX
I’m looking for old watches.
SURPLUS DEALER
What kind? I have hundreds.
REX
Where?
SURPLUS DEALER
At my house. Rolex?
REX
Do you have military watches?
SURPLUS DEALER
Rolex military? I used to have a couple. I sold them.
REX
To someone from here?
SURPLUS DEALER
A long time ago. You want to buy them? He had a shop in Limassol. It’s closed now.
REX
I think I know who you mean.
SURPLUS DEALER
(waving his hand at the table)
Buy something then. For the information I gave you.
CUT TO:
SCREEN TITLE: “SIX MONTHS LATER”
CUT TO:
EXT. ZURICH BAHNHOFSTRASSE, BEYER WATCH RETAILER, - DAY
ELLIOT, a middle age finely dressed American, tall, bald, and of general striking appearance, takes watches out of his pockets and shows them to REX.
ELLIOT
The Longines has a dual mainspring movement. Rare. Only 200 Swiss Francs. The Wyler is cheap, 50 francs, undervalued. What do you have to show me?
REX
Nothing.
ELLIOT
I don’t believe it. You always have watches.
REX
I was going inside Beyer to leave a few pieces of a military Rolex.
ELLIOT
Military Rolex! Show me.
REX
I bought it in Cyprus from a watchmaker turned insurance salesman. It took about six months of visits to his father’s old shop where he still worked on Saturdays. Conversation after conversation, negotiation after negotiation. That is when he showed up for our appointments. The watch probably was put together from replaced parts kept by the watchmakers at the English Bases.

As you see: a badly damaged case, its back gouged by a screwdriver, an oil stained face, and a few pieces of the movement. I’m going in here to ask what they’ll charge to supply the rest.
ELLIOT
Does the Cypriot have any more?
REX
Yes, he has another, but it would be nearly impossible to buy: the case and face are in better condition, the movement has more parts.
ELLIOT
I know a collector in New York who will pay a high price.
INT. ZURICH APARTMENT, - DAY
REX speaks on the telephone.
REX
Do you still have the Military Rolex?
WATCHMAKER
Yes, but there’s a problem. I gave it to a friend who wanted to get a repair estimate. He left the watch at a shop to be repaired without asking me.
REX
Strange. My American watch dealer friend just did the same with me with the first watch.
WATCHMAKER
I can get the watch back, but what if it has been repaired?
REX
I'll pay the cost, $2500 dollars, and the gold watch I showed you.
WATCHMAKER
I’ll call you back.
CUT TO:
SCREEN TITLE: “NEXT WEEK”
CUT TO:
INT. ZURICH APARTMENT
URSULA comes to the doorway of the kitchen, where REX is cooking pasta.
URSULA
Telephone for you. Cyprus.
REX
(on telephone)
Do you have the watch?
WATCHMAKER
Yes. The repair is more than a thousand dollars. Is that alright?
REX
Yes. Where is the watch?
WATCHMAKER
My friend still has it. He wants to get the money he spent on the repair.
REX
I'll pay him.
CUT TO:
INT. CYPRUS, WATCHMAKER’S SHOP - DAY
REX, siting with the WATCHMAKER and WATCHMAKER’S COUSIN, hands the WATCHMAKER an old gold watch.
WATCHMAKER
There's still a problem. My friend doesn't want to give back the watch.
REX
Why not?
WATCHMAKER
He now says he spent two thousand dollars on the repair.
REX
If he shows me the receipt, I’ll pay it.
WATCHMAKER
What will you do, if I keep the gold watch, and don't get the Rolex for you? Go to the police?
REX
Don't be ridiculous.
The WATCHMAKER clearly is not being ridiculous. He has a conversation in Greek with his COUSIN.
WATCHMAKER
He says you make too much profit.
REX
Give me a minute. I’ll write down in detail what the last watch cost me, how much money I paid for repair and how long I waited, how long it was before I sold it and what I sold it for.
REX writes figures on a pad he takes from his bag, hands the paper to the WATCHMAKER.
WATCHMAKER
Can I keep the paper?
More conversation in Greek.
WATCHMAKER (CONT’D)
OK, let's go get the watch.
CUT TO:
EXT. CYPRUS STREETS, - DAY
They drive to the house of the WATCHMAKER’S FRIEND. It is dark. Dogs bark. No one comes to the door. The WATCHMAKER says its better if we wait at his own house around the corner.
CUT TO:
INT. WATCHMAKER’S HOUSE - MOMENTS LATER
The WATCHMAKER keeps trying to call his FRIEND while his wife makes coffee. Finally the call is answered. Loud argument ensues. He puts down the phone.
WATCHMAKER
Let's go back.
CUT TO:
EXT. WATCHMAKER’S FRIEND’S HOUSE, - EVENING
After some shouting, the WATCHMAKER’S FRIEND emerges from the dark house, and is introduced.
REX
What’s the problem?
WATCHMAKER’S FRIEND

I only want the money I laid out for the repair.
REX
Show me the receipt, and I'll pay the cost.
WATCHMAKER’S FRIEND
I don't have it.
REX
Ask the repair company to fax you a copy.
WATCHMAKER’S FRIEND
No. I have the watch. If you want it, you have to pay my price.
REX
Did you buy the watch? Pay anything for it?
WATCHMAKER’S FRIEND
No.
REX
Did you have permission to repair it?
WATCHMAKER’S FRIEND
No.
REX
I don't see how it's your watch.
WATCHMAKER’S FRIEND
I have possession of it. Legally it's mine.
WATCHMAKER
Let's go to the police.
WATCHMAKER’S FRIEND
Won't do you any good. The Chief of Police is a friend of mine.
REX
(to WATCHMAKER)
It's midnight. Take me to my hotel?
CUT TO:
INT. CYPRUS HOTEL ROOM - 2 HOURS LATER
REX is awakened by pebbles being thrown at the window. The WATCHMAKER is outside standing beside a police car.
CUT TO:
EXT. CYPRUS HOTEL - MOMENTS LATER
REX stands talking with the WATCHMAKER.
WATCHMAKER
My friend has been arrested for theft. They want you to go to the station and give a statement.
CUT TO:
INT. POLICE STATION OFFICE - LATER
REX sits at a desk across from a detective typing his replies into a computer.
REX
Where is the watch?
DETECTIVE
The watch has been taken as evidence. The case is being investigated.
CUT TO:
EXT. CYPRUS HOTEL - LATER
A police car drops REX off at the hotel.
CUT TO:
SCREEN TITLE; ONE MONTH LATER
CUT TO:
INT. CYPRUS POLICE STATION - DAY
REX sits patiently waiting, book in one hand, coffee cup in the other. A DETECTIVE walks into the waiting room and stands in front of him.
DETECTIVE
The investigation is in progress.
CUT TO:
SCREEN TITLE: “MONTHS LATER”
CUT TO:
INT. CYPRUS POLICE STATION - DAY
REX sits patiently waiting, book in one hand, coffee cup in the other. A DETECTIVE walks into the waiting room.
DETECTIVE
The investigation is still in progress.
CUT TO:
SCREEN TITLE: “MONTHS LATER”
CUT TO:
INT. CYPRUS POLICE STATION - DAY
REX speaks with the RECEPTIONIST.
REX
I’d like to speak with the Chief of Detectives.
The RECEPTIONIST speaks briefly on the phone, leads REX down the hallway, into another office and the desk of the CHIEF OF DETECTIVES.
REX (CONT’D)
Do you know why I'm here?
CHIEF OF DETECTIVES
Yes.
REX
I'd like to know why you haven't finished your investigation. It's been 6 months.
CHIEF OF DETECTIVES
That's normal for Cyprus.
REX
But what are you doing? What did you investigate this month?
CHIEF OF DETECTIVES
Nothing.
REX
Last month?
CHIEF OF DETECTIVES
Nothing.
REX
Month before? Why aren't you investigating? You won't answer?
CHIEF OF DETECTIVES
Do you want me to tell you why I'm not investigating?
REX
Yes.
The CHIEF OF DETECTIVES picks up his telephone, speaks a few words. One by one detectives come filing into the room, line themselves up along the wall.
CHIEF OF DETECTIVES
You want to know why I'm not investigating?
REX
Yes.
CHIEF OF DETECTIVES
Because I don't want to. Get out.
ALL THE DETECTIVES
(in chorus)
Get out!
REX walks down the hall, sees a sign in Greek and English “Chief of Police”. The office door is open, the CHIEF OF POLICE seated inside behind a desk.
REX
I suppose you know why I’m here? About this investigation?
The POLICE CHIEF stares without answering.
REX (CONT’D)
About the watch?
POLICE CHIEF
Yes. What do you want?
REX
The watch.
POLICE CHIEF
I'm not interested. Go.
REX goes. On the way out the RECEPTIONIST stops him.
RECEPTIONIST
What will you do now?
REX
Call the American Embassy.
RECEPTIONIST
Good luck.
CUT TO:
INT. CYPRUS HOTEL LOBBY - DAY
REX walks in, the HOTEL OWNER’S FATHER greets him, hands him a paper with a phone number.
HOTEL OWNER’S FATHER
My friend, the Embassy called for you. You can use the phone at the desk if you want.
REX goes over to the hotel phone and makes the call.
EMBASSY OFFICER
Rex, we made the inquiry into the watch. The Police have now closed their investigation. No charge will be pressed against the second man. Since the police had the watch from him, it will be returned to him at the end of a one week period unless you take legal action to stop it. This was the decision of the prosecutor's office in the capitol, according to the police.
CUT TO:
INT. PROSECUTORS OFFICE, CYPRUS - DAY
REX
I’d like to speak to the prosecutor.
SECRETARY
He's not available.
REX
I'll wait.
A few minutes later the SECRETARY escorts REX into the PROSECUTOR’S office.
PROSECUTOR
You’ve come about the watch.
REX
Yes.
PROFESSOR
A fascinating situation. I will reopen the investigation if you want. But in my opinion, it's a waste of time. If the watchmaker’s friend loses the criminal case, he can appeal. It might take years. Much better to file a civil law suit against him.
REX
That also will take years.
PROSECUTOR
Maybe not. Depends on what his lawyer advises when he gets notice of suit.
REX
Can you recommend a lawyer in Nicosia? The lawyer my Hotel sent me to turned out to have ties to the both the watchmaker and his friend.
PROSECUTOR
I wonder if that would be ethical. Excuse me a moment.
The prosecutor leaves the office, can be heard speaking with someone in the next room. He returns.
PROSECUTOR (CONT’D)
I can recommend my cousin. He's just begun to practice law in his mother's office. I’ve made an appointment for you. There is time. The watch isn't going anywhere.
The PROSECUTOR hands REX a business card.
CUT TO:
EXT. CYRUS STREET, OFFICE BUILDING - DAY
REX compares the number on the building with that written on the card he holds.
CUT TO:
INT. OFFICE OF REX’S LAWYER. - DAY
The SECRETARY leads REX into the private office, where he is introduced.
REX’S LAWYER
I am already familiar with the case. But tell me again.
REX removes a folded sheet of paper from his wallet and places it on the desk.
REX
Here’s the "Bill Of Sale" I convinced the watchmaker to make out for me last week. Almost a year after we made our deal. Tax stamped, witnessed by the owner of my hotel, dated and signed, very official looking. A lawyer in Limassol called it a forged document. Is it?
REX’S LAWYER
No, there’s precedent for putting into written form an earlier oral agreement.
REX
Then what’s my next step?
REX’S LAWYER
Apply for a court order to take the watch away from the police and into the keeping of the court. Then sue both watchmaker and the friend.
REX
How much will it cost?
REX’S LAWYER
Four Hundred Pounds for court and legal fees.
REX takes out his wallet and puts down on the lawyer’s desk small stack of colorful bills.
REX
Swiss Francs, but I think about right. Nine Hundred.
CUT TO:
INT. ZURICH APARTMENT - DAY
REX is in the Kitchen, drinking coffee at the table and reading. Ursula appears in the doorway.
URSULA
Cyprus again. Your lawyer.
REX goes to the telephone.
REX’S LAWYER
The friend has made an offer of settlement. If you pay the repair cost which he now says is one thousand dollars, he will give up claim to the watch.
REX
I accept.
REX’S LAWYER
Are you sure?
REX
Yes. If you don’t mind, I’ll leave money for the Watchmaker with you to give to him, the price of the watch less my costs.
CUT TO:
INT. CYPRUS, REX’S LAWYER’S OFFICE - DAY
REX leaves cash with the SECRETARY, who signs a receipt.
CUT TO:
INT. CYPRUS HOTEL ROOM - MORNING
There is a knock on the door. REX gets out of bed and opens the door to the WATCHMAKER.
WATCHMAKER
You’re going to the court to get the watch? Why didn’t you call me?
REX
I don’t know if anything will happen there. I’ve been to lawyers’ offices, police stations, prosecutors’ offices dozens of times. How did you know I am going to court?
WATCHMAKER
Your hotel told me. I’m coming with you.
INT. CYPRUS, COURTHOUSE LOBBY - DAY
REX walks through the doors accompanied by the WATCHMAKER. They take a seat and wait.
WATCHMAKER
What are we waiting for?
REX
My lawyer’s assistant is supposed to meet me here.
WATCHMAKER
I have to go to work.
REX
If I do get the watch, you can pick up your money from my lawyer. I am leaving Cyprus this afternoon in any case.
The WATCHMAKER writes takes the lawyer’s card from REX and leaves the courthouse. Time passes. The ASSISTANT to REX’s LAWYER appears.
ASSISTANT
I’ve been looking for you. The court has the watch. I’ve been trying to get you permission to see it. I’ll be back.
She goes. Time passes. She returns.
ASSISTANT (CONT’D)
They say now they don’t have the watch. The other side’s lawyer isn’t here. I’ll be back.
She goes. Time passes. She returns.
ASSISTANT (CONT’D)
They say now they have the watch but refuse to show it to you.
REX
Why?
ASSISTANT
I don’t know.
The LAWYER for the WATCHMAKER’S FRIEND appears in discussion with a couple of other gowned lawyers.
ASSISTANT (CONT’D)
Finally. This is the other side’s lawyer.
FRIEND’S LAWYER
Do you have the money?
REX places the money in his hand. He carefully counts it.
FRIEND’S LAWYER (CONT’D)
The best part of my life for the past year has been spent fighting over this watch.
REX
Why did you? It wasn't your client's.
FRIEND’S LAWYER
He had possession of it.
REX waits outside as the FRIEND’S LAWYER goes into an office and shuts the door behind him. When he emerges, he passes papers to the ASSISTANT, and goes on his way. The rest go downstairs, and in another office, papers presented, a safe is opened by a court official and the watch held out to REX.
ASSISTANT
Is it right?
REX
New crystal, new hands and winding crown, maybe a new face. The case has been badly polished. Difficult to say if it is the same watch at all. I haven’t seen it for two years.
ASSISTANT
What do you want to do?
REX
Pick up my bag from the hotel, and then go to the airport.
CUT TO:
INT. CYPRUS HOTEL LOBBY
REX gets out of the elevator with his bag and says his goodbye to the HOTEL OWNER.
HOTEL OWNER
Are you happy now? You’ve been coming here years. Now you have the watch.
REX
It’s only a watch. Why did you tell the watchmaker I was going to court this morning?
HOTEL OWNER
I’m Cypriot.
CUT TO:
EXT. BAHNHOFSTRASS, ZURICH, BEYER WATCH RETAILER - DAY
REX passes a receipt to the repair agent at the counter who returns with the watch and a written report.
REPAIR AGENT
The watch needs service.
REX
I’ve been told it just came from service.
REPAIR AGENT
I’m sorry. It failed water-pressure and other tests.
CUT TO:
EXT. BAHNHOFSTRASSE, ZURICH, TELEPHONE BOOTH - DAY
REX makes a call.
REX
Listen. I’m at a Rolex authorized dealer in Zurich. They’ve written a report that the watch hasn’t been serviced. When I deduct the thousand dollars I paid the watchmaker’s friend for servicing the watch, I don’t owe the watchmaker anything. I don’t want you to give him the money I left with you.
REX’S LAWYER
It's not the watchmaker's fault.
REX
It is. The two were working together to cheat me before they had their falling out. Even if not, the watchmaker is responsible for what it cost me to get the watch.
REX’S LAWYER
Send me the report by fax. And don't come back to Cyprus. Not for a while.
CUT TO:
EXT. HOTEL LOBBY - NIGHT
REX
But Peter, I did go back, a couple years later. It is difficult to explain, even to myself, what I was doing there again in Cyprus. The Cypriots had the same problem. Why had I left my own country, to go there and do nothing? Was I doing nothing, was I not a spy, for the United States, for Israel? Was I even really American? Why was I living like I was, spending time with a Serbian woman who, protected companion of a powerful local lawyer plainly didn't belong with me or to me or me belong to her in any way?
EXT. BEACH FRONT APARTMENT CYPRUS, LATE NIGHT
REX hears his name called from outside, and goes out onto the balcony. Milica is down on the street with her two terriers.
MELICA
Are you ready?
REX comes down with his bags, keeps off the two dogs jumping with joy at the end of their leaches. They all walk to the courtyard of the second-hand shop.
CUT TO:
EXT. SECLUDED CYPRUS COURTYARD, SECOND HAND SHOP - LATE NIGHT
MELICA starts clearing away the broken banana tree branches blocking her door.
MELICA
See what that monster next door did?
REX
What is wrong with him?
MELICA
He wants to frighten me away.
REX
Just because he tried to push you around, and you told him to go to hell?
MELICA
See you’re new home.
MELICA unlocks the door to the shop, they work their way inside through piled plastic bags filled with old clothes, to the spiral stairway.
MELICA (CONT’D)
You can sleep upstairs. I don’t think that maniac will try anything with you here.
The dogs are barking outside where they’re tied to a tree.
MELICA (CONT’D)
I’ll be back tomorrow night.
CUT TO:
INT. CYPRUS SECLUDED COURTYARD,SMALL SECOND HAND SHOP - MORNING
REX climbs down the loft steps cluttered with plastic bags of clothes, makes his way to the front door, unlocks it, drags out a table and a chair and makes himself instant coffee. He sits down outside in the garden with coffee in one hand and book in the other. A CUSTOMER approaches.
CUSTOMER
Do you work here?
REX
No, house-guest and friend of the owner. Go on in. Prices are on the board by the door. Leave the money somewhere on the book shelves.
The CUSTOMER goes inside and looks through the books.
CUSTOMER
What do you recommend?
REX
Since I’ve been here my friend has greatly expanded her collection. Strange books on history and politics and poetry she finds at church sales. Look out for them.
CUSTOMER
Do you know the Yiddish writer Grade? In one of his stories a religious man runs his wife’s store the way you do.
REX
I don’t run the store.
CUSTOMER
Exactly!
CUT TO:
MELICA arrives on her moped, bringing with her pizza, yogurt, wine, olives.... She puts everything down on the table outside, collects the money from the shelves inside, grabs Rex’s head roughly and gives him a kiss on the top of his head, and sits down beside him under the night sky.
REX
Why are you so good to me?
MELICA
You made me many beautiful gifts, when you were able to.
REX
I never would have given you anything if I knew it was going to be considered the price of your friendship.
MELICA
Too late now.
CUT TO:
EXT. CYPRUS, SECLUDED COURTYARD, SMALL SECOND HAND SHOP, MORNING.
REX performs his morning ritual of moving chairs and table outside. He sees that the attacks of the restaurant owner have resumed. The palm branches that had been placed as an awning on the roof have been thrown down before the door.
CUT TO:
EXT. CYPRUS, POLICE STATION, - DAY
REX enters. Soon comes out, stands a few moments lost in thought.
CUT TO:
EXT. CYPRUS OFFICE BUILDING, BRASS PLAQUE ON WALL READS “MAYOR’S OFFICE” IN GREEK AND ENGLISH.
REX enters.
CUT TO:
EXT. CYPRUS, COURTYARD, SECOND HAND SHOP, - EVENING
A man and a woman enter the shop, then step back outside to speak with REX, sitting as usual reading, with a cup of coffee in his hand.
MAN
Do you work here?
REX
No, I am staying upstairs. Go in. If you find something you want, leave the money for the owner on the shelf. Prices are listed on the board.
The MAN points to the book REX is holding in his hand, fingers marking the page left off on.
MAN
Can I buy that book?
REX
It happens to be my book, not the store's. But I will be finished in a few minutes, and then you can take it.)
MAN
You are under arrest.
REX
Why?
MAN
Tell you later.
CUT TO:
EXT. POLICE STATION HOLDING FACILITY - DAY
The MAN (Undercover Policeman) leads REX to the holding area behind the station and unlocks the gate in the chain link fence.
MAN
Your problem is you think you can change the world.
CUT TO:
INT. CYPRUS,COURTHOUSE - DAY
A police car drives up. Two policemen escort REX into the courthouse lobby.
INT. CYPRUS COURTHOUSE, COURTROOM. - DAY
REX’S LAWYER meets him outside the courtroom door.
REX’S LAWYER
Bail will be set. We will ask for a continuance. Are you all right? Good. Let’s go in.
INT. CYPRUS COURTHOUSE, COURTROOM - DAY
INTERPRETER introduces himself to REX.
INTERPRETER
I’ll be translating for you. Stand over here. The hearing is about to begin.
The PROSECUTOR makes a statement in Greek.
INTERPRETER (CONT’D)
The prosecutor’s representative asked for 1000 pounds bail. Your Lawyer suggested 100. 200 pounds was set by the Judge. And you must surrender your passport.
CUT TO:
EXT. CYPRUS STREET, BANK ATM - DAY
TWO POLICEMEN stand by REX as he withdraws money from the outdoor ATM.
CUT TO:
INT. COURTHOUSE LOBBY
REX’S LAWYER comes to meet him. They walk to a small office where the bail money is paid, passport handed over, and documents signed.
REX’S LAWYER
To be safe, you must ask for your Embassy’s help. I’ve already spoken with the prosecutor’s representatives here. They’re embarrassed by this. Let’s hope for the best. See you tomorrow.
CUT TO:
SCREEN TITLE: TOMORROW
CUT TO:
INT. CYPRUS COURTHOUSE, COURTROOM - DAY
INTERPRETER introduces himself to REX.
INTERPRETER
I’ll be translating for you again. Stand over here. The hearing is about to begin.
The PROSECUTOR makes a statement in Greek.
INTERPRETER (CONT’D)
The prosecutor’s representative says he believes there is no reason to continue with the case. The judge says he will wait for a written statement from the head prosecutor’s office before acting further. The case is continued until tomorrow, same time.
CUT TO:
SCREEN TITLE: “TOMORROW”
CUT TO:
INT. CYPRUS, COURTROOM, - DAY
The INTERPRETER again stands by REX as the PROSECUTOR speaks.
INTERPRETER
The Prosecutor says they have changed their minds and will proceed with the prosecution. Case continued until tomorrow, same time.
CUT TO:
INT. CYPRUS COURTHOUSE, HALL OUTSIDE COURTROOM - DAY
REX’S LAWYER
I think you must go in person to the Embassy in the capitol.
REX
The bus stop is just down the street. But what is going on?
REX’S LAWYER
The representative for the police I spoke with told me they were over-ruled by “instructions from above.”
CUT TO:
EXT. BUS TRAVELS HIGHWAY TO NICOSIA - DAY
CUT TO:
EXT. CYPRUS, AMERICAN EMBASSAY - DAY
CUT TO:
INT. CYPRUS, AMERICAN EMBASSAY OFFICE WAITING ROOM.
REX finishes writing a long statement and takes it to one of the armored windows at the other side of the long room.
EMBASSY OFFICER
Have you put down everything? There are no guarantees. But I’ll see what we can do. What is this really all about? Do you know?
REX
Hatred.
EMBASSY OFFICER
When does the hearing continue?
REX
Tomorrow.
CUT TO:
SCREEN TITLE: TOMORROW
CUT TO
INT. CYPRUS COURTHOUSE, CAFETERIA - DAY
The court INTERPRETER suddenly appears at the table where REX sits reading.
INTERPRETER
The judge wants this case to move forward. What do you expect from the American Embassy?
REX
I have asked the Ambassador to contact the Attorney General of Cyprus.
INTERPRETER
What does the Ambassador say?
REX
I don't know. I haven't spoken with him directly.
INTERPRETER
Tell him the judge wants an answer.
REX
How?
INTERPRETER
Call him.
REX
I’ll try.
REX calls the Embassy, asks for the Consular Department. The EMBASSY OFFICER comes on the line. REX reminds her who he is.
REX (CONT’D)
I’m at the courthouse. They want to know what you are doing.
EMBASSY OFFICER
The United States doesn't involve itself with the internal legal affairs of foreign countries.
REX
It is the judge here that is demanding a response.
EMBASSY OFFICER
Really? Put your lawyer on the phone.
REX passes the phone to his LAWYER, who speaks briefly in Greek then passes the phone back to REX.

EMBASSY OFFICER (CONT’D)
What do you want us to do exactly?
REX
I want the Ambassador to call the Attorney General and ask him if he knows what is going on here. Tell him that a prosecutor from his office has said in court that the case should not be prosecuted, there was no grounds whatsoever for the action to continue, then returned the next day saying he would proceed anyway.
EMBASSY OFFICER
OK, I'll do that.
INTERPRETER
What did she say?
REX
The Ambassador will call the Attorney General.
The INTERPRETER jumps from the table knocking over his chair and runs out of the cafe. Five minutes later he rushes back in.
INTERPRETER
Case closed! Call the
Ambassador! Tell him not to call the Attorney General".
REX makes the call. The EMBASSY OFFICER answers.
EMBASSY OFFICER
Yes? What now?
REX
Case closed. The judge wants you to tell the Ambassador not to call the Attorney General.
EMBASSY OFFICER
Too late. I am looking at him on the phone right now talking with the Attorney General. What happened?
REX
I don't know.
EMBASSY OFFICER
Incredible!
REX closes his phone. His LAWYER, who’d followed the TRANSLATOR when he rushed out, has now returned too.
REX
What do you think happened?
REX’S LAWYER
The prosecutor claims his office found a misplaced document from the capitol that had closed the case days before.
CUT TO:
INT. BUDAPEST, HOTEL LOBBY, -NIGHT
PETER
And what was this all about?
REX
Like I said: Hatred. Hatred of Americans, hatred of Israelis (anyone thought to be Jewish was considered Israeli), hatred of Serbian and other immigrants, police anger at being defied by me and my friend - everyone said her neighbor worked for the police as an informant.

PETER
The memory book story interests me more. Do you expect to make money from the book? That is what you do, make money from things you find.
REX
I’ve written a children’s book with drawings. It’s here in my bag. Sit back, I’ll read you a bed time story.
PETER
You’re the only guest, but some things have to be done in this job of doing nothing. Give me a minute.
REX takes out a lose stack of papers, drawings on top, spreads them out on the coffee table. PETER returns with two more coffees.
PETER (CONT’D)
Ready. The story is based on the memory book?
REX
Yes. Pretend you hear the voice of Kata, Magda’s friend, a young Budapest girl.
DISSOLVE TO:
INT. BUDAPEST SAFE HOUSE, ATTIC - NIGHT
KATA sits on the floor, looking through drawings she has made in a cloth bound notebook. She is alone.
KATA
(voice over)
Here is a picture of our attic. All those books are ours. And that is Magda sewing my coat.
We have been here for about a month now. Magda has a husband but he had to go away to work.
She is my best friend. And I am her best friend. Though I am only thirteen, she tells me I act like her mother. I don't mind. Her real mother is gone, but I still have mine. And father too.
I got the idea for this book from Magda. I mean I found her memory book hidden on the shelves. She doesn't know I found it.

You can see how nice it is. People had time to make nice things then. Myself I have poor penmanship. But no one is going to complain. Like Magda's book, my book is a secret.
Did you see the tear in the pocket? In the last picture, I mean. On my coat. Magda and I were at Keleti Station. We weren't allowed to be there, obviously. But I had the pass my father gave me. Here is what it looked like.
And this is the station. They are going to resettlement. Magda and I stay here, safe in this house that belongs to Sweden.
Somewhere among all those people getting on the train was Gabi, Magda's favorite teacher.
The memory book was in my pocket, but I didn't have to take it out to know what Gabi wrote down. The date was 1941. Three years ago. Here it is:
"When childhood first awakes to consciousness,
When its faith first is being torn by destiny,
When you, heart and soul, cry out in pain,
Beware, that's when life begins."
My father tells me that mother watches over him. And he watches over me. Always no matter what. And that I have to watch over Magda. Some people need more watching over, he says. I asked what I could possibly do for my friend Magda. She knows everything. Reads all night. She's married, she's a teacher, She's a tailor. She is kind. She is wise. And father said I was right. Still she needs to know someone is watching over her.
KATA (CONT’D)
(reading from book)
"In life you're cared for by these three: God, parents, and good friends. Worship the first, respect the second, and never forget the third."
I guess you are wondering about how we got here. Magda used to live with us. I mean our house, our big house, my father and mother and grandmother's house. We had plenty of company, because families from other parts of the city had to move out of their own houses, they were told to, and they came to live with us. Our house became school, dormitory, my father's law office, and political headquarters too, unfortunately, my father says.
Politicians. My father always said that word in a funny way. On our last day, before we came here, the politician guy came over in his big car. He saw me sitting outside on the steps with Magda beside me.
EXT. BUDAPEST RESIDENTIAL STREET - DAY
KASTNER
(ruffling KATA’s hair)
May I? Pretty girl.
KATA
Are you a politician?
KASTNER
Are you going to shoot me?
KATA
Do you deserve it?
KASTNER
You're the daughter, I recognize you. Your father taught you to talk that way.
KASTNER enters the house.
KATA
(voice over)
And he went up the steps. Five minutes later all the children, all of them, came stumbling over each other out into the street. Magda went inside and came back with the news: we all had to go. We were going to the Swedes. Father had arranged it. We have to hurry. They are coming. The politician came to warn us. And then she turned to go back inside. For the books.
I remembered what my father taught me. All these little kids needed someone to look after them. They looked to each other, and saw that every one of them was looking at the others for someone to look after them, they were scaring each other looking for help from each other. Mother, Father would say, is not here, but I know she looks after us. She demands we do good, she's watching to catch us out. So I thought, give the little kids something good to do.
KATA runs over to MAGDA.
KATA (CONT’D)
Magda, tell them we're taking the books. We're taking the books! Get them to repeat it. Line them up, up the stairs, along the street. We'll pass on the books kid to kid, from our library to the Swedes house. We can see it from here.
Kata gives Magda a shove.
KATA (CONT’D)
(voice over)
I took Magda's elbow and got her going. She was shocked like the rest at having to move again so soon.
And my father was right. The books arrived in our attic here, the kids came with them. This is what Magda's book says:
"There are two beautiful things in life,
On which destiny has no power:
Diligence and morality,
On earth and in heaven we're blessed by them."
In the picture of our house you can see the Swedish flags and the sign above the door, "Svenska Bibliotek". Father said it was Mr. Wallenberg's idea to call the house a library. Now where the sign is really is a library!
It was through Per, the man who worked with Mr. Wallenberg, that Magda and I first met. Magda translated German and Hungarian for Per. Per and Mr. Wallenberg are Swedes who are helping us.
Father worked with the Politician, as he called him. And both of them often went to see the Swedes. Father always says he liked to keep me in his sight and out of everyone else's.
He took me with him to meetings, Per took Magda, so often Magda and I found ourselves waiting together, this time in the kitchen of a big house out in the Buda Hills that Per was renting.
We sat over the coffee the house maid prepared for us, listening to the murmur of voices coming from the dining room, the voices of the German Eichmann, Per, and Father. That reminds me. It's hard to describe Magda's voice. She doesn't like to talk much. She likes to sing, especially while she sews. I said to her in the kitchen,
INT. SWEDISH DIPLOMAT’S HOUSE, BUDA HILLS - DAY
KATA
The men in the other room: they are deciding who lives and who dies.
KATA (CONT’D)
(voice over)
Magda looked at me with her quiet eyes. I knew what she was thinking. She was thinking that I was too young to know.
INT. KELETI TRAIN STATION - DAY
KATA
(voice over)
But we’d both been there at the train station. We saw the brave Mr. Wallenberg jump on the roof of the train, throw in his Shutz Passes, lead the people out of the train and station and into his cars with Swedish flags. The Germans shouted get down! Stop! They shot their rifles into the air. He didn't go through that to save people from "resettlement". Even a 13 year old can figure that out.
INT. SWEDISH DIPLOMAT’S HOUSE, BUDA HILLS - DAY
KATA
We can at least know what they're saying. Come with me.
CUT TO:
INT. HALLWAY - DAY
KATA
We take off our shoes and tip-toe to the closed double doors of the dining room.
Crouched outside, in the hallway around the corner from the closed doors to the dining room, we can clearly hear three voices.
INT. SWEDISH DIPLOMAT’S HOUSE, BUDA HILLS,DINING ROOM - DAY
PER, the Swedish Diplomat, ADOLPH EICHMANN, the Nazi officer, KASTNER, the “Politician. PER is speaking to EICHMANN.
PER
You should worry about what will happen at the end of the war. About your future.
EICHMANN
You should be worried too. The Russians will get here first. They will be uncertain about who you work for. Sweden? America? Other countries?
PER
We receive financial support from the American Refugee Relief Board. It is a humanitarian organization.
EICHMANN
If you say so. You use American money to help the Jews stay, when it is my job to send them away.
PER
But you know Germany has lost the war.
EICHMANN
We can still complete the task we have set for ourselves.
PER
You are talking about killing people.
EICHMANN
Killing Jews.
PER
For the glorious future of Germany, when Germany has no future. You say so yourself.
EICHMANN
Watch yourself, my dear Per. We
Germans still have our present, and presently we are here in Budapest.
PER
I'll ask you again. Why send people to their deaths for an idea you don't believe in? You say the killing will make the world a better place for your people, who might soon be killed to make the world a better place for their conquerors.
EICHMANN
And I'll say again, Watch yourself, Per. I believe in doing my job. I am well rewarded for it. I will do it as long as I can and will enjoy doing it up until the end.
What do you say, Herr Kastner?
KASTNER
I also believe in doing my job, and that is saving people. The future of nations, polite dinner table gossip I leave to the diplomats.
EICHMANN
Bravo. $1000 each transported. Train to Switzerland. That is true international language. You'll have your train, I promise you. Do your work, I'll do mine.
INT. SWEDISH DIPLOMAT’S HOUSE,BUDA HILLS,HALLWAY - DAY
KATA’S FATHER appears out of the shadows.
KATA
(voice over)
Magda is surprised, me too, when Father appears standing before us, a quizzical expression on his face. I say,
KATA (CONT’D)
There you are.
FATHER
There you are. Clear out!
KATA
Where have you been?
FATHER
Making a telephone call. What business is it of yours? Back to where you are supposed to be, you two.
INT. SWEDISH DIPLOMAT’S HOUSE, BUDA HILLS,KITCHEN - DAY
In the kitchen MAGDA stands before the stove, her face turned away.
KATA
Magda! Only God decides who lives and who dies.
MAGDA
I have to trust Father will do what is right.
KATA
What can he do alone?
MAGDA
He can be a good man. Kata, come here. We will sit in this kitchen and drink another cup of coffee. We don't get it often. You want to think a way out for us, then go ahead and do it. I'll see that Father listens to you. Right now we'll try to be good to each other.
KATA goes over to MAGDA.
KATA
(voice over)
She puts her arms around me, rests her head on my shoulder. I'm big for my age, so it isn't too awkward.
"In life you're cared for by these three:
God, parents, and good friends.
Worship the first, respect the second, and never forget the third."
That's from the first page of the memory book.
EXT. BUDAPEST SAFE HOUSE, STREET - DAY
KATA
(voice over)
On the Sabbath Magda and I exercised our privilege, as Father would say, of leaving our house with the Swedish Flag driving in Per's car flying the Swedish flag.
The Pest Synagogue was full. Here is a picture. We looked down on the crowd from the women's balcony high above. I said to Magda,
INT. PEST SYNAGOGUE BALCONY - DAY
KATA
If I ran down there, climbed onto a chair and shouted, “You all are going to die!” What would happen? There are thousands. They'd tell their friends.
MAGDA
The Germans would take you away. No one would believe you, man or woman. They'd say to each other that if it were true, the Rabbis would have told them.
KATA
Do you see that boy? Blond hair, blue eyes? That's Lantos.
MAGDA
Your friend?
KATA
You've seen him at home. He brings medicine to all the safe houses. He's coming tonight.
MAGDA
He looking up at us.
KATA
Don't look! Let's go to the car.
EXT. PEST SYNAGOGUE, STREET - DAY
KATA
(voice over)
In Magda's book I read:
"To love many is a guilt,
To love two is a sin,
To love One is sweet,
Solely be faithful and warm."
INT. BUDAPEST SAFE HOUSE, SCHOOL ROOM - DAY
KATA
(voice over)
Magda has gathered all the children together for school. I don't have to attend because I take lessons all day living with her up in our attic. And anyway everyone keeps talking about how advanced I am.
The surprise I have for Magda is that Lontos is coming after class with Father. We are going to ambush Magda. We need her good sense.
By the way, he is not really her father. He's my father. He is father to her, he says, as she is mother to the children. As I am mother to her!

Father arrives just as the class ends. Lontos is with him. Father kisses Magda on the cheek, kisses me on the cheek. Lontos signals to me with a little wave of his hand.
LONTOS
I hope Kata was telling me the truth. She said that you would listen. She and I have agreed on this: we cannot choose between selecting some to be saved, and warning the rest the resettlement trains are death trains. We have to do both.
KATA
How?
LONTOS
If people are warned, they can try to escape, they can hide, they can defend themselves, they can join the resistance.
KATA
Why would they believe you?
LONTOS
We will choose the people who are ready to believe. We'll do it quietly. That's what we are doing now. We won't destroy Kastner's deal with Eichmann.
Take your house full of orphans on the Kastner train, if you can do it. But help us too. We'll find those who will believe. We'll do it quietly. They'll join us, save themselves and others. Will you help?
Kata, ask your father.
KATA
Father?
FATHER
Magda, what do you think?
MAGDA
Yes.
The Memory Book says:
"In the storm of life your clear inner-self is the best shelter."
INT. BUDAPEST SAFE HOUSE, ATTIC - NIGHT
MAGDA sits at her table reading. KATA is on the floor going though her memory book.
KATA
(voice over)
This is a picture of train station good-byes. How I think it will look. The memory book:
"It's hard to find a good friend,
And a true, whole-hearted partner.
But it's even harder to be separated
From the one you love,
When it's such a precious thing you can't find anything like it on the whole Earth."
Time passes quickly. I'm growing up fast. This is the last I will write for a while. Magda refuses to go with us. She won't take a chance from someone else. And there is work for her here. Lontos is staying too. He laughs: Kastner forgot to save him a place on his train! He promises to look after Magda.
CUT TO:
INT. HOTEL LOBBY - NIGHT
REX
And?
PETER
I didn’t know about Kastner. Did he get his train?
REX
Yes. But he didn’t himself go on it. He ended up in Israel, became a party politician and journalist. In the 1950’s the story of what happened in Budapest came out. A Hungarian immigrant started publishing pamphlets about him. Kastner got the government to sue for libel. But the court ruled there was no libel because he in fact collaborated with the Nazis. He went into retreat, filed an appeal. Before it could be heard he was shot outside his apartment by a former Israeli spy. The next year the court reversed the judgment and exonerated him.
PETER
What is your interest in this?
REX
I found the book. If you don’t mind, let’s change the subject.
PETER
It’s dark. I’ll turn the lights on.
REX
Do you know what I liked best about living with my wife? Sitting in the garden in the house in the country, reading Shakespeare. How can we be happy with people who do everything to make us unhappy?
PETER
They don’t do it all the time.
REX
You’re speaking from experience.
PETER
Yes. She loves you.
REX
How do you know that?
PETER
I know from the stories. From knowing you. How was living with her in the countryside?
CUT TO:
INT. HOUSE IN THE COUNTRYSIDE, - DAY
Beatrix’s bedroom.
BEATRIX
You're precious to me. I have to take care of you so you'll last. Sit down. I'll cut your nails.
REX
You don't have to. Why am I precious to you?
BEATRIX
I know you'll never leave me.
REX
You'll leave me before I have a chance.
BEATRIX
Don't you care?
REX
What can I do about it?
BEATRIX
You could leave me.
REX
You just said you know I won't.
BEATRIX
You could leave me first, when you know I am going to leave you. That's what I do.
REX
Remind me when the time comes.
REX is sitting reading in the garden. BEATRIX opens an upstairs window, leans out and waves.
CUT TO:
INT. COUNTRYSIDE HOUSE, DINING ROOM - DAY
BEATRIX runs down the stairs, picks up the unlined paper covered with handwritten notes stacked on the dinning room table.
INT. BUDAPEST,HOTEL LOBBY - DAY
REX
In spite of all, because of it all, life is beautiful with her. She says she isn’t really beautiful, only knows how to make the most of her good points. She does stretching exercises every day, runs for 40 minutes, is dedicated to her singing. She tells me she loves me. Do I love her? How could I not. She cooks for me, sneaks downstairs in the morning to read the notes I am making. She wants to know everything about me.
PETER
And what about you? Do you know everything about her?
REX takes out his laptop, types in an internet address.
REX
I’ve a couple of web sites I put my stories on. This one is named after my wife.
REX types in another address.
REX (CONT’D)
(clicking on date)
Google Analytics for the site. The month of March, before we returned to Hungary. On the 18th, 3 visits, averaging 12 minutes, from a small town in New Mexico, Alamogoro. Beatrix has a friend there, a German Soldier stationed at the American Air Force Base.
PETER
How do you know?
REX
She told me about him long ago.
(clicking on another date)
The 27th, 2 visits from Horse Neck, New Jersey. Same date she re-set her Facebook profile to show this town as her home.
PETER
And who is there?
REX
That I don’t know.
PETER
You write, and she watches you. She reads, and you watch her.
REX
We keep in touch.
PETER
Let’s get some fresh air. I want to smoke.
CUT TO:
EXT. CITADEL COURTYARD - NIGHT
REX and PETER stand looking out at the lights of the city.
PETER
How did you meet your wife?
CUT TO:
EXT. BUS FROM BUDAPEST AIRPORT ON FREEWAY - DAY
The airport bus to the metro station passes through a region of foul smell, a sinister burning under the wet gray sky. From the nearest subway station REX walks fast through the gloom and noise of the streets to the Odeon cafe, and once past the double doors, he is relieved to see the couches and arm chairs are just where they were the year before.
Around him are the same grim faces, miserable or just locked in concentration. He sets down his bag, arranges his books on the table. Across the room, sitting where he usually does when he has a chance, is a young woman alone. She looks back at him. There is something taunting in her expression. Her hair style looks newly achieved, and expensive: let it be a warning. He gets up and says hello.
BEATRIX
Are you American?
REX
Yes.
BEATRIX
What do you do?
REX
Don't really do anything, in the past I’ve made money dealing with old watches between other dealers, in a small way, but at the moment I’m writing.
BEATRIX
Writing what?
REX
Stories from my life. Trials, police, courts, in Cyprus and New Jersey.
BEATRIX
You get yourself into trouble?
REX
Sometimes. So far I have always got away unharmed, left it all behind. Mostly I read all day.
BEATRIX
Are you from New Jersey?
REX
No, Los Angeles, but part of my family moved there.
BEATRIX
I have to go now.
REX
Can I call you later?
BEATRIX writes her phone number on a newspaper margin, and goes out.
CUT TO:
EXT. LARGE SHOPPING CENTER, BUDA - NIGHT
REX steps off the tram in heavy rain.
CUT TO:
INT. SHOPPING CENTER ATRIUM CAFE - NIGHT
REX
Let’s sit beside each other at the table.
They remove their winter coats. Neither speaks.
BEATRIX
What's wrong?
REX
I am lost here.
BEATRIX
In Budapest?
REX
No, here with you.
BEATRIX
Don't you like me? Should I go?
REX
No.
BEATRIX
Do you want to know my story?
I studied English Pedagogy at the University, I work at night at a school teaching English. I’ve signed a contract with Universal Music to sing with a band and record a CD. The company wants to make me a star, create an image for me. Do you care? Are you interested? You don’t like popular music?
REX
No, I do. I would like to hear you sing.
BEATRIX gets up and starts to walk away. REX catches up with her.
REX (CONT’D)
Don't go.
BEATRIX
I'm lost.

CUT TO:
EXT. THEATER BOX OFFICE - NIGHT
BEATRIX and REX walk into the theater and buy tickets.

CUT TO:
INT. CHINESE RESTAURANT - NIGHT
BEATRIX and REX order tea and sit down.

BEATRIX
What do you think of me?
REX
I don't know you, I don't understand you.
BEATRIX
Why are you here then?
REX
I'd like to get to know you.
BEATRIX
Why?
REX
It is the old story of wanting to have a story. What else is there in life? Why are you here with me?
BEATRIX
You're interesting. A stray. A hermit hiding in the open, an adventurer against his will, a reluctant warrior.
REX
Better and better!
CUT TO:
EXT. BUDAPEST STREETS, - NIGHT
After the play, her car isn't around the corner where she expected. It takes half an hour of walking deserted streets to find it.
CUT TO:
EXT. CITADEL COURTYARD - NIGHT
PETER and REX walk to the fortified walls of the castle, look down at the illuminated bridges over the river and the city.
REX
I feel so much at home here and it’s not my home at all. This hotel, the country itself can throw me out any time. It’s like being with my wife.
PETER
Is that why you didn’t come back for so long?
REX
Yes. I don’t understand.
PETER
It’s just life. We don’t understand even our friends, not much, but we’re re-assured when we’re with them. You’re wife will come back to you.
REX
And then leave again.
PETER
And you can go traveling.
REX
And return, to her, to the Citadel.
PETER
You’ll be welcome.
REX
Let’s go inside. I’ll tell you one more story.
INT. HOTEL LOBBY - NIGHT
REX and PETER enter, takes their seats. PETER says, Just a moment, leaves and returns with two bottles of beer.
PETER
The story?
REX
You like cafes. You’ll like this.
When you sit down at a cafe, square your arms like a king along the rests of one of two comfortable chairs at the small round table, and look over at a stranger, the temporary companion in life sitting in the other chair, you might have something like this happen.
CUT TO:
INT. STARBUCKS - NIGHT
REX brings his coffee over to a table. Across from him is a man with movie star looks, in his mid-thirties, typing into a laptop.
REX
What are you working on?
DOMINIC
I’m working now with SEO, Search Engine Optimization. Getting your company higher up on internet search results. But I’m interested in getting into the movie business. Are you a writer?
REX
I have writing on free sites I would like to make money with. Can you help?
DOMINIC
I can get sites noticed, but it’s up to you to have something to sell on them. Do you?
REX
Not at the moment.
DOMINIC
When you do we can talk again. Where are you going from here? I have to leave for an appointment, can I drop you somewhere?
REX
What direction are you going?
DOMINIC
It doesn’t matter. I’ll take you where you’re going, if it is not too far.
CUT TO:
EXT. PARKING LOT - NIGHT
DOMINIC
(pointing to a new Jaguar)
It’s this one.
CUT TO:
INT. CAR DRIVING WEST LOS ANGELES STREETS - NIGHT
REX
Nice car.
DOMINIC
A gift from a movie actress. I met her when I had a shop with partners selling luxury furniture. We went out once. She liked me. Asked me to meet her a few days later at a Jaguar dealership. She gave me a choice: do I like the dark one better or the light one? Take my pick. The ownership papers came in the mail a little while later.
The car moves slowly through the heavy traffic.
DOMINIC (CONT’D)
I used to sit at the shop with People magazine open before me, concentrating on one famous person or another. Sooner or later they would appear in the shop. I even tried this on birds, and they appeared in the sky as ordered. If you are grateful, you get what you ask for. At least it works for me.
REX
I was wondering what had happened with a girl from Romania I used to know. And then a couple of days ago she wrote me an e-mail after no contact for seven years. Come to New York and see her! She was traveling with an Italian boyfriend who had to go home suddenly for a family emergency. The problem with this invitation was that the last time I saw her she was robbing me at gunpoint with her boyfriend of that time. A case of be careful of what you ask for.
DOMINIC
(laughing)
Yeah.
CUT TO:
EXT. HAMMER MUSEUM - NIGHT
The car arrives in Westwood. Good-byes are exchanged. As REX closes the door, Dominic leans over to speak through the window.
DOMINIC
I asked for you.
CUT TO:
INT. HOTEL LOBBY - NIGHT
From outside the sound of a car driving up into the castle courtyard. PETER gets up and opens the hotel door. BEATRIX rushes in past him, sees REX.
BEATRIX
Let’s go.


END