Retiring is never easy…
A crim’, a clown, and a cat walk into a bar…
Sounds like the opening gambit of a joke, doesn’t it? But there is no bar, and delightfully these three characters are the headlining cast of John Hunter’s screenplay, The Hitman’s Retirement Party.
A rather gruesome opening scene introduces us to titular character – Bill, 60s, balding, glasses, – an ordinary looking Joe Blow, who if you met him on the street, he’d easily pass for an accountant, a bank manager, even a local handyman. But Bill’s anything but what he appears to be. Fact is, he’s a cold calculating killer, fast, methodical, deadly. At the front door of a mark’s house he takes out a small caliber pistol, pops the guy unceremoniously twice – a bullet in the eye, one to the head, one final parting shot to the temple for good measure. As Bill says: It’s nothing personal…
It’s just all in a day’s work. After forty years on the job however, Bill’s decided it’s time to hang up his holster for the last time. A quick call to management to inform them. Now it’s time to kick back and enjoy the spoils of retirement with his loyal sidekick, Buddy.
Buddy is Bill’s best friend, he’s been there for Bill through thick and thin. He’s the one Bill comes home to every night. You might say he’s his soft place to fall – always eager and happy to see his best mate, Bill.
As with all great sidekicks Buddy is the silent type, but don’t be fooled, there’s usually a lot going on – think: Jay and Silent Bob, Penn and Teller, Han and Chewie, The Chief and McMurphy.
There’s just one thing though… Buddy’s a cat. A meow, perhaps an affectionate coil around the legs, is likely about all you’ll get. Despite this, Bill believes he and Buddy share their own special repartee, a symbiotic relationship of sorts, least this is what Bill thinks…
But someone’s about to come between Bill and Buddy, test their loyalty and their future happiness. That someone is a clown named Terry who just so happens to turn up unannounced at Bill’s front door, dressed in fuzzy orange wig, big red nose, large floppy shoes, and holding a handful of helium filled balloons.
Has he come on behalf of management? Bill’s last phone call did lead us to believe he might be in line for a proper sendoff. Perhaps the clown comes with a parting gift, maybe a nice gold watch, or a little retirement bonus? After so many devoted years of faithful service, it’d be no surprise. Or would it?
Well you’re going to have to get to the punch-line – I mean denouement – yourself. Suffice to say John Hunter weaves a Hitman story with a difference, cleverly executed through dark comedy, tongue in cheek dialogue, the element of surprise, and some rather lovely dry wit.
Our parting shot? That Hitman’s Retirement Party is a killer script, sure to draw even the best filmmakers out of retirement.
Budget: Very reasonable. A cat. Two guys and a smoking gun. Oh, and a really evil clown costume….
About the writer John Hunter: With the completion of (4) boffo features, a litter of riveting shorts, a one hour take-your-breath-away sci-fi TV pilot and first 30 minute episode for that series, I am now officially THAT guy — The one who really needs an Agent or Executive Producer. Contact me at x32792 (a) yahoo.com
Read Hitman’s Retirement (9 pages in pdf format)
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This screenplay may not be used or reproduced for any purpose including educational purposes without the expressed written permission of the author.
About the reviewer: L. Chambers has been writing all her life – especially in her head, and on scraps of paper. It’s only in the last few years she began to get serious about screen-writing. Prior to this she worked in the Features Department for ABC TV as a Program Assistant, and trained as a FAD. She currently works as a freelance web-content editor and lives with her husband (also a screenwriter) in Sydney, Australia.