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THE RUNNER By: donald prokop FADE IN: RESTAURANT OFFICE WILLIAM the manager, mid-thrities, sits at the desk totaling up the prior nights receipts. AS he looks up we see behind the well groomed facade the eyes of someone just about to win or lose it all. PAN down as he alters a couple numbers on the ledger book. HE freezes as VOICES appear outside the door. After the voices dissolve, he takes three-hundred dollars from a stack of money on the desk an slides it into his pocket. He takes the rest of the cash and places it into the safe. CUT TO: EMPLOYEE ROOM Worn out shoes scattered across the floor. A locker unit with doors edged open and clothes hanging out. Fluorescent lights flicker overhead. MIGUEL, 19, a young man with jet black hair slicked behind a round pail face sits in his coat staring indolently at the clock mounted on the wall. Clock reads: 5:28 He lets out a sigh. RESTAURANT DINING ROOM SERVERS put the finishing touches on the room, polishing silverware, adjusting table clothes. WILLIAM walks through the dinning room a commander checking his watch. WILLIAM (pointing to a table) Change that table cloth, its dirty. He makes his way through the dinning room to the bar where DAN the BARTENDER cuts fruit for the night. WILLIAM You have everything. DAN We're still out of that vodka. WILLIAM (walking away) It should be here tomorrow. CUT TO: KITCHEN A flourish of activity. Workers cut and dice vegetables. Another is stretching out pasta dough. A large stock pot bubbles atop the stove. The CHEF carves a baby goat. He looks up as William enters. WILLIAM Everything ready Chef. CHEF We're in good shape. WILLIAM Good. Uncomfortable pause. CHEF How's the books look tonight? WILLIAM Pretty light. But it's a nice night. William looks at the clock on the wall. Clock reads: 5:33 WILLIAM Have you seen Miguel? CHEF Not yet. William takes one last look around then leaves. CUT TO: EMPLOYEE ROOM Miguel changed into his runner uniform. He looks in the mirror. His wrinkled pants are a couple sizes too big and this makes him sad. He ties his apron around his waist. Then before leaving he reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out a small rolled up magazine and places it in his apron. CUT TO: STAIRCASE Miguel slowly walks up the stairs. As he gets closer to the top he stops. He takes a deep breath and continues on. He walks through the back where a DISHWASHER covered in sweat works earnestly to clean a stack of pans. DISHWASHER El oh, lo mira es el corredor. MIGUEL Animal. Miguel rounds the corner before the Dishwasher can respond. KITCHEN Miguel stops to watch the chef as he sections out the pieces of goat. CHEF Miguel, how you doing buddy. MIGUEL I'm fine I guess. CHEF William's looking for you. MIGUEL He's always looking for me. FOLLOW Miguel to... BAR Miguel grabs a glass from the shelf and places it on the counter in front of Dan. DAN Senor Miguel. Como sta MIGUEL Bien, bien. Miguel see's William and picks up the glass pretending to clean it. WILLIAM Miguel, you are late again. MIGUEL I'm sorry, William. I try, but sometimes I'm late. WILLIAM (grabbing Miguel) Come with me... I've got a project for you. William leads him down the stairs. CUT TO: BASEMENT CLOSE ON a large white rectangle. A hand reaches in. PULL BACK Miguel in the basement storage area removes the protective covering from an adhesive rat trap. He carefully sets the trap on the ground and slides it under a shelf. MIGUEL (to himself) Yes, William I am very sorry for being late. (in spanish) Usted animal. No hay desvio bastante grande coger la clase se usted. He pulls out another trap. MIGUEL'S POV A door marked office. Beat. BACK TO: MIGUEL He walks over to the door. Removes the backing from the trap and slides it under the door. He pulls out another and another. DING. CUT TO: TICKET Being spiked. MIGUEL Wipes the edges of the plate. CUT TO: DINING ROOM Miguel carries the plates from the kitchen into the dining room. Dinning room MUSIC washes over kitchen NOISE. TABLE He approaches a table where two people sit conversing. MIGUEL (to lady) Salmon. The lady motions yes and Miguel sets the plate in front of her. MIGUEL (to gentleman) Chicken. GENTLEMAN Yes, thank you. He places the plate in front of him. MIGUEL Would you like anything else? COUPLE No, thank you. MIGUEL Enjoy your dinners. Miguel walks towards the host stand HOSTESS STAND Miguel talks with JANINE at the host stand. William see's this and immediately interjects. WILLIAM (to Miguel) What are you doing? MIGUEL I was saying hello to Janine. WILLIAM There is no conversing while we are open. MIGUEL Yes, sir. Miguel walks off towards the kitchen. WILLIAM Janine, about next Thursday, I'm going to need you to work. JANINE It's my opening. WILLIAM I know but there's no one else to cover it. JANINE I can't do it. WILLIAM You have to. DING. CUT TO: TICKET Being spiked. MIGUEL Wipes the rim of the plate. CUT TO: DINING ROOM Two people talking at a table. Miguel walks up carrying the plates. MIGUEL (to lady) Salmon. She motions yes. Miguel sets the plate in front of her. MIGUEL (to man) Steak. Rare. MAN Yes, thank you. CUT TO: KITCHEN Miguel leans against the wall. He reaches into his apron and feels the magazine. CUT TO: BATHROOM CLOSE ON a pair of shoes under the stall door. INSIDE Miguel sits on the toilet. He pulls a small porno magazine from his apron. Finding a picture he likes he unzips his pants and begins to masturbate. The SOUND of the bathroom door opening. He stops mid-stroke. WILLIAM (OS) Miguel, is that you. MIGUEL Yes, William. WILLIAM Get out of there, right now. MIGUEL I can't William. My stomach, it does not feel good. WILLIAM Right NOW. MIGUEL Please, William... I... OUTSIDE William sniffs the air. WILLIAM It doesn't smell like sickness. MIGUEL(OS) No William. I am very sick, but if you give me a couple minutes I will be alright. INSIDE Miguel careful not to make a sound, slides the booklet into his apron. WILLIAM(OS) I'll give you to the count of three. OUTSIDE William by the door. WILLIAM One. INSIDE MIGUEL slowly putting his erection away. WILLIAM(OS) Two OUTSIDE William is prepares to rip open the door. WILLIAM Three. Miguel opens the door and walks out. MIGUEL Much better. CUT TO: OFFICE Outside the office door. William searches for his key. Miguel nervously looks at the bottom of the door. MIGUEL Please. We can talk out here. WILLIAM (searching) Were the FUCK ARE MY KEYS. MIGUEL (pleading) Please... William punches Miguel in the chest. Miguel is stunned. WILLIAM Shut the fuck up. William searching more frantically. WILLIAM JESUS, WHERE THE FUCK ARE THEY. MIGUEL (softly) By the hostess stand. WILLIAM What did you say. MIGUEL I said you left them by the hostess stand. (in Spanish) USTED ANIMAL QUE COGE! Beat. Miguel watches William fills with rage. He closes his eyes. WILLIAM Miguel, you are finished. A VOICE calls down the stairs. JANINE (O.S.) William. You have a phone call. WILLIAM Take a message. JANINE (O.S.) I can't... I think it's the owner. Beat. JANINE (O.S.) William. WILLIAM All right. I'm coming. The two men look into each others eyes. WILLIAM Take off your apron. Your fired. William goes to answer the phone. CUT TO: RESTAURANT Janine and Dan by the bar. Miguel comes up from the stairs his apron in his hand, he looks sad. DING. The SOUNDS of the restaurant dry up to a silence. Miguel throws his apron onto the bar. DAN Go on Miguel, that was the bell. MIGUEL William fired me. SHOUTING comes from the front of the restaurant. Miguel looks to see what's going on. MIGUEL'S POV William walks through the dining room. He's coming right at him. DING. But instead of coming any further he turns off and goes downstairs to the office. BACK TO: MIGUEL Looking down the stairs. He hears the KEYS going into the lock and the DOOR OPENING. Then From the office he hears PROFANITY... THROWING THINGS. SLOWLY PULL BACK On Miguel until we see William climbing the stairs in his stocking feet. In his hands are a pair of shoes covered in the rat traps. William walks past Miguel and the workers. Shoes in hand he exits the restaurant. DING. DING. Chef comes out from the kitchen. CHEF Come on, Miguel hot food hot, cold food cold. Miguel looks at Janine and Dan. JANINE Go on, Miguel. Miguel grabs his apron off the bar and walks back to the kitchen. The SOUNDS of the restaurant raise back. MIGUEL returns carrying a plate salmon and a plate of the goat special. FADE OUT: