A Gift for Pauly

(The original screen play)

 

SCENE 1: (A garden apartment dining room. Jane and Pauly are just sitting down for a Christmas Eve meal when the door bell rings)

 

PAULY: Who on earth could that be?

 

JANE: If you donít know then youíre not as smart as people say you are.

 

PAULY: Hank?

 

JANE: That would be my guess since heís been here every night since we moved in.

 

PAULY: But I specifically told him not to bother us tonight.

 

JANE: Youíve told him not to bother us all those other nights, too. So why is tonight different?

 

PAULY:† Because this is Christmas Eve.

 

JANE: All the worse since he seems to believe you and your old gang have a tradition of getting together every Christmas Eve.

 

PAULY: That was silly kidís stuff when none of us had serious relationships. We could afford to drive around all night in those days looking for Christmas.

 

(The door bell rings again this time more insistently)

 

JANE: Apparently he still believes in the tradition. Are you going to let him in or we going to have to listen to this racket all night?

 

PAULY: (gets up from the table, crosses the room, yanks open the door) Well, well, well, if it isnít Santa Claus.

 

HANK: Merry Christmas Eve. ( holding a Christmas gift out for Pauly to take. Pauly ignores it)

 

PAULY: I thought we agreed not to exchange presents this year.

 

HANK: No, you said you wanted to exchange them at the club.

 

PAULY: This isnít the club, is it?

 

HANK: I never agreed. The band doesnít play until next week and thatís after Christmas.

 

PAULY: I donít want to go into this right now. Go away.

 

HANK: Does that mean Kenny canít come in and wish you a happy Christmas?

 

PAULY: You dragged him here, too?

 

HANK: Heís out in the car.

 

PAULY: This is ridiculous. Iím not running a lonely hearts club here. Go away. (Pauly shoves Hank out and slams the door)

 

SCENE 2: †(The rusting Dodge parked at the curb. Kenny is seated in it. Hank climbs behind the wheel.)

 

KENNY: Was he home?

 

HANK: Heís there. But heís in one of his moods again.

 

KENNY: Well, he did tell you not to bother him tonight.

 

HANK: He says that every year.

 

KENNY: Other years he didnít have a girlfriend to spend Christmas Eve with.

 

HANK: Thatís not excuse for forgetting his friends. I donít forget the gangís tradition when I fall in love.

 

KENNY: You fall in and out of love so often itís very likely youíre just as out of love as the rest of us when this time of year comes around.

 

HANK: Iím not going to let Pauly get away with this.

 

KENNY: You have that look in your eyes again, Hank. What exactly do you have in mind?

 

HANK: Iím not leaving until Pauly takes his gift.

 

KENNY: So leave it by the door.

 

HANK: It might get stolen.

 

KENNY: Well, I donít think heíll come out if he knows youíre out here.

 

HANK: Weíll see.

 

SCENE 3: (Pauly and Jane seated at the table. Pauly is dishing out food. The singing of Christmas carols sounds from outside.)

 

JANE: That sounds like Hankís voice

 

PAULY: Of course itís hank. Who else would have a warbly sound like that? Or sing so loudly. He could raise the dead.

 

JANE: Maybe you should let him in.

 

PAULY: Heíll want to exchange presents.

 

JANE: So?

 

PAULY: I didnít get him any.

 

JANE: I donít think heíll mind. He just wants to share the holiday with you.

 

PAULY: Share, my ass. Heíll hog it up. We let him in weíll need all over Santaís helpers to get him to leave.

 

JANE: If you donít, heíll keep singing and have the whole apartment complex angry with us.

 

PAULY: If only I had an old boot.

 

JANE: Pauly, go talk with him. Maybe you can discourage him from singing.

 

PAULY: (gets up and go to the door, opening it just wide enough to shout out) Shut up, Hank or Iíll call the cops.

 

HANK: (shouting) Now, Kenny, hit the door, now! (Hank and Kenny push on the door as Hank tries to shove the present through the gap. Pauly manages to foil the attempt, shutting and locking the door again)

 

PAULY: Damned fools!

 

SCENE 4 (Hank and Kenny standing in front of Paulyís door)

 

KENNY: Maybe we should leave him alone if he fells so strongly about this. After all it is Christmas.

 

HANK: It IS Christmas. And heís the one acting like Scrooge.

 

KENNY: If thatís what he wants let him have it.

 

HANK: But thatís not what he wants. He tries this every year and every year he gets teary-eyed when we finally make it happen.

 

KENNY: Maybe he doesnít want to get teary-eyed this year.

 

HANK: Come on (Hank heads towards the rusting Dodge)

 

KENNY: Where are we going?

 

HANK: To get help

 

SCENE 5 (Pauly at the window looking out)

 

PAULY: There they go

 

JANE: At least thatís settled.

 

PAULY: Like hell it is. Hank never gives up that easily. Which means heís up to something. Get your coat.

 

JANE: What on earth for?

 

PAULY: Weíre going out.

 

JANE: What about dinner?

 

PAULY: Weíll be back before it gets cold. I want them to think weíre gone

 

JANE: Iím not so sure about this, Pauly.

 

PAULY: I am. Just hurry up. They could be back any minute.

 

SCENE 6 (Pauly and Jane are just settled into the blue Volkswagen when the rusted Dodge returns)

 

PAULY: Duck!

 

JANE: This is silly, Pauly. Iím not going to spend Christmas Eve cramped up in your car.

 

PAULY: (Pulling Jane out of sight) You wonít have to. I just want them to get settled before we make our escape.

 

JANE: Escape where?

 

PAULY: No where. Weíll just drive out and then come back when theyíre gone.

 

JANE: How do we know when they leave?

 

PAULY: Theyíll get bored soon enough when they know weíre not home.

 

SCENE 7: †(Hank and Kenny seated in the rusted Dodge when the blue Volkswagen pulls out of a nearby parking spot

 

HANK: Damn, he must have guessed about us hiring the carolers.

 

KENNY: So you wasted the money, Hank. There is goes. He wonít be here to hear them when they arrive.

 

HANK: Pauly isnít going to get away with this (Hank guns the car in pursuit)

 

KENNY: What about the carolers. Weíre supposed to point out which apartment to sing in front of.

 

HANK: No point. No oneís in it. Weíve got to catch Pauly.

 

SCENE 8 (Pauly and Jane riding down the highway in the blue Volkswagen. Hank and Kenny bumping their bumper with the rusty Dodge)

 

JANE: Theyíre right behind us.

 

PAULY: It was that damned red light. If I hadnít stopped for that, we would have gotten clean away.

 

JANE: Iím not so sure Hank wouldnít have run it. Why donít you stop and make peace. Itís clear that he intends to follow us where ever we go.

 

PAULY: No, I can still get away from him. I know some tricks that will raise the hair on that foolís neck.

 

JANE: Donít do anything crazy, Pauly.

 

PAULY: Iím not doing anything crazy. But I need to get off this highway. Heís got a faster car than we do, so we need to get on some crooked streets where I can out-steer him.

 

JANE: Why canít you just accept his present so we can go back to dinner?

 

PAULY: Because he does this every year and this year Iím going to teach him once and for all that when I saw leave me alone, I mean it.

 

(Pauly steers the car off an exist into the web work of village streets that eventually leads the car to dirt roads where the trees are so think the head lights can barely penetrate them. Pauly glances into the rear view mirror where Hankís headlights show vaguely through the trees a few curves behind)

 

JANE: Stop this, Pauly. Youíre going to get us killed.

 

PAULY: Heís like a demon! He just wonít take a hint.

 

JANE: Is he worth all of this? Stop the car.

 

PAULY: Weíre going to stop, soon. I know this part of the valley better than he does. I know the perfect place to hide.

 

(Pauly turns the car sharply into a narrow slot between two trees, killing his headlights and his engine as he does, so that the car rolls to a stop, allowing the rusting Dodge to rumble passed).

 

JANE: (after a few minutes) Okay, heís gone. Can we go home now?

 

PAULY: Not yet.

 

JANE: But Iím getting stiff and cold. Can you at least turn on the engine so we can get some heat?

 

PAULY: No way. Hankís out there listening, waiting for us do to just that. We have to wait him out.

 

JANE: And how long will that be?

 

PAULY: As long as it takes.

 

SCENE 9 (The rusting Dodge pulls up in front of Paulyís apartment)

 

HANK:† I canít believe we lost him.

 

KENNY: Letís just leave the present by the door and go.

 

HANK: I suppose weíll have to. (They get out of the car and walk up to the door which Pauly apparently left unlocked in his hurry to leave. Hank pushes it open with the tips of his fingers). Pauly? Are you here?

 

KENNY: It looks like he forgot to close and lock the door. Hey, donít go inside.

 

HANK: Iím going to put his present inside. (steps inside, turns on a light) Hey, look, dinner. And itsí getting cold. It would be a shame to let it go to waste. Pull up a chair, Kenny.

 

KENNY: I donít think we should.

 

HANK: Fine, you can watch me eat. †At least weíll be warm while we wait for Pauly to get back.

 


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