OUR STORY SO FAR: Doug, a gruff detective, has entered his office to find a young man waiting for him.
INT - DOUG'S OFFICE - EVENING (CONT.)
I repeat, who are you, and how did you get into my office?
The young man, realizing Doug is not going to shake his hand, withdraws it.
Allow me to introduce myself, Mr. Funnie. My name's Studebaker, Chalky Studebaker. DOUG
What the hell kind of name is that? STUDEBAKER
It's American, sir.
Doug grunts as he santers over to the desk. He casually glances at the framed picture Studebaker just put back down.
CU - THE PICTURE
is of Doug and a blond woman in younger, happier days.
How'd you get in here? STUDEBAKER
A magician never reveals his secrets. DOUG
That still doesn't explain what you're doing in my office. STUDEBAKER
Forgive the intrusion, sir, but...
He sits down in the wooden chair in front of Doug's desk, like a young applicant in a job interview.
-the guys at the academy talk about you. They say you're the best detective in the tri-city area. DOUG
People say a lot of things.
Doug sits down on the other side of the desk.
I was just wondering if maybe, you know, you could... teach me your ways. Impart your wisdom onto me. Take me on as your ward, l-let me be your partner.
Doug raises his eyebrow.
You.. you wouldn't have to pay me or anyth- DOUG
I work alone.
Please, Mr. Funnie, I beg you to reconsider. DOUG
Let me ask you something, kid: how old are you? STUDEBAKER
You see this tomato?
He picks up a tomato from on top of his desk, which we hadn't seen before for some reason, and hands it to Studebaker.
Go ahead. Squeeze it.
Yeah, that's right, squeeze it, squeeze that little sucker hard. Make it burst, get some tomato sauce all over the place.
Studebaker does as he is told.
CU - STUDEBAKER'S HAND
is becoming red as it squeezes the tomato as hard as it can.
The tomato doesn't burst and Studebaker gives up.
Once you're capable of bursting a tomato with your bare hand --
Grabbing the tomato, he bursts it with little effort, like cheap plastic.
DOUG (CONT.)Studebaker says nothing.
-- you'll have proven yourself a man. DOUG
I work alone.
Studebaker gets up from his chair.
Well, thank you for your time, sir.
He exits cautiously and gently closes the door behind him.
Once he's gone, Doug stands up throws the tomato at the door in a flit of anger.
CU - THE TOMATO
splatters on the door, leaving a red, gooey residue on the glass portion, which reads "FUNNIE & BEAUMONT, PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS" in large letters backwards.
The small grey dog barks inquisitively at Doug, who sits down again and opens a desk drawer, withdrawing a bottle of scotch and swilling it down.
To be continued...