The Elusive Case of the Carrion Fowl, Episode I

Below is an excerpt from one of my pilot scripts - The Elusive Case of the Carrion Fowl


               Looking for her brother, Maria leads Steven and Wesley
               through a maze of shop vendors.  They finally arrive at a
               beaten down shop that sells old comics.  Her brother,
               VICTOR, 21, is a large man who is minding the shop.

                         Are you OK?

               Victor is pale with pain and his left arm is bandaged
               heavily.  He waves a little and laughs recklessly.


                         What happened to your hand?

               Victor unwraps the bandages.  His thumb has been cut off.

                         I play too many video games, anyway.

               He throws his head back and laughs.  He loses control of
               himself completely.


                         Stop.  Stop it!

               He hits Victor so hard that he falls down hard.  Victor
               stops laughing.  Maria rushes to his side and helps him up.

                         I couldn't do it anymore.

                         He told them that he wouldn't break
                         other people hands anymore, so they
                         cut off his thumb.

                         Did you go to the cops?

                         We can't go to them!

                         They wouldn't believe me anyway.
                         I don't think that you'll even
                         believe me.

               Steven steps forward and sits down on an empty chair.  He
               pulls an old pipe out of his pocket and lights it up.

                         Why don't you try telling me?

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. MEXICAN MARKET - NIGHT

               The shops have been stripped bare and the market is
               deserted.  Steven and Wesley are crouched behind a full
               trash dumpster.  Steven is examining the ground carefully.

                         Victor had been studying to become
                         an engineer.  He's been clean for a
                         couple years now. What I don't
                         understand is why Big Mike would do

                         Big Mike?

                         The guy Vic used to work for.
                         Mike's always been a good guy.

                         An old acquaintance?

                         Very old.

                         Were you an employee too?

               Wesley stands up with ferocity, bumping his head hard on
               the dumpster lid which was open above his head.

                         No.  A friend.

               He rubs his head.

                                     WESLEY (CONT'D)
                         What are we doing here anyway?

                         Out for blood.


                         Found it.

               He dips his finger in pool of blood on the ground.  It is
               leaking from the bottom of the trash dumpster.  He tastes
               the blood.

                                     STEVEN (CONT'D)
                         Yep.  That's blood alright.  That
                         poor kids thumb must be buried under
                         there.  Towards the bottom, from the
                         amount that has leaked out.  It's a


                         I just didn't feel like going
                         through a trash dumpster again.

                         Victor didn't tell us that.

                         He didn't tell us anything...
                         of value.

                         He's hiding something.  How did you
                         know it was there?

               Steven turns and walks away from the dumpster to the empty
               vending grounds.

                         Why do you say that Big Mike has
                         always been a good guy?

                         I don't know.  There's something
                         about Mexicans.  They take care of
                         family.  It means something to them.


                         Come on!  You know I don't get it.

                         Mexicans care about family.

                         Is that supposed to be clever?
                         Because I said it first.

                         Earlier today we stood in the midst
                         of a busy pulga and listened to a
                         young man tell us about how he was
                         brutally attacked and injured after
                         turning down a job from old mob boss
                         the night before on this very spot.
                         Did you notice the curious way that
                         the rest of the vendors acted around
                         that poor engineer?

                         They didn't take any notice of him
                         at all.

                         That is the curious thing.

               He walks off and starts digging in the dirt.  Wesley
               follows after him.

                         You know what?  You'd make a
                         terrible story teller.

               Steven stands up in exasperation, and walks off to a pool
               of liquid in the ground.

                                     WESLEY (CONT'D)
                         You still haven't said anything!

                         Mexicans take care of family!  It's
                         something that defines what they
                         are, and this definition covers even
                         family of shop vendors.

                         They're together so long that they
                         form a sort of family.

               Steven sniffs the liquid and gags at it.  He stands up and
               moves off in the opposite direction.  Wesley follows after

                                     WESLEY (CONT'D)
                         But I still don't see how-

                         Do you need me to paint you a

               Victor walks by them and up to a shadowed figure.

                         Where's Big Mike?

               He glances around nervously.

                                     VICTOR (CONT'D)
                         I get a message like that again,
                         after all this time?  I'm going to
                         go straight. Where's Big Mike?

               Wesley walks up and looks at Victor then at the shadowed

                         OK.  I get that this is what
                         happened last night.
                              (to Steven)
                         But who is that guy?

               He jerks a thumb at the shadowed figure.

                         Well.  You said yourself that I'm a
                         bad storyteller.

                         I'm sorry man.

                         There's a shadowed figure there
                         because I don't know who he is yet!

               Victor turns away from the shadowed figure but still
               addresses him.

                         I don't know who the heck you are,
                         but I can tell you I'm not doing
                         anything without Mike.  I don't care
                         how much money you offer me to fix
                         that solar panel.

                                     SHADOWED FIGURE
                         I can't let you walk away.  You
                         know too much about it.

               He steps towards Victor.  Victor steps back, shaken.

                         What are you talking about?  I
                         don't know anything.

                         You know he's right.  He didn't
                         know anything.

                         He doesn't.  But maybe he should.

               He spreads his arms about him.

                                     STEVEN (CONT'D)
                         It had to be something around here.
                         Solar panels can't be moved easily.
                         And he knew the object.

                         A solar panel.

                         A solar panel?  All of this for a
                         solar panel?  Take it easy man.

                         And he would have taken it easy, if
                         it had only been about a solar
                         panel.  But solar panels are not
                         built for their own sakes.

                         They power something.

                         And if only that knife vendor
                         hadn't left a butcher knife lying on
                         the ground the day before.


               Victor is dismayed by this. The shadowed figure picks up a
               butcher's knife from the ground from the spot that Steven
               had been digging.

                                     VICTOR (CONT'D)
                         No.  Stop.  Help!

               The engineer runs away, pursued by the Shadowed Figure.
               Victor stops when he reaches the dumpster.  He turns and
               thrashed out at his attacker.  Surprised, the attacker drops
               the knife.  They tussle on the ground for a little bit, but
               the Shadowed figure winds up on top and he pummels Victor
               for a bit.  Wesley steps forward, horrified.

                         He never would have been able to do
                         that if Vic had been in shape.

                         College has a way of making you fat.

               The Shadowed Figure slams Victor's head into the side of
               the dumpster.  Victor holds up his hands in front of his
               face.  The Shadowed Figure picks up the knife, and starts to
               swing.  Victor moves his head out of the way, but not his

               Wesley looks away.  There is a thud and Victor screams.

                         OK.  That's how he lost his thumb,
                         then he passed out.  I get it.  Why
                         didn't he finish the job?

                         Have you ever had a very old car?

               Wesley waits.

                                     STEVEN (CONT'D)
                         Because they are the only kind that
                         emit that sort of vomit.

               He points to the pool of liquid he sniffed earlier.  There
               is an old car idling there now.

                                     STEVEN (CONT'D)
                         He must have parked there, and left
                         it idling.  Only he didn't leave it


               Maria peaks out from the back window where she was
               crouching down.  She sees her brother in trouble.


               She climbs into the front and puts the car into gear.  She
               presses the gas and brings the car forward with a roar.  She
               can't control it very well but manages to direct it at the
               Shadowed Figure.  Steven and Wesley are in the way, but
               Steven pulls Wesley out of the path of the car at the last

                         She's too young to drive!

                         She's Mexican.

               Maria chases the Shadowed Figure off.  Then reverses the
               car back to where Victor is lying.  She opens the door and,
               wrapping his hand in her sweater, pulls her brother into the

                                     STEVEN (CONT'D)
                         Siblings are life savers.

                         They're orphans.  They look after
                         each other.

               The car zooms off.  The Shadowed figure comes back, picks
               up the severed thumb, calls someone on his phone and starts
               talking in the background.

                         You see, Mike didn't do this, but
                         he helped.  He gave the contact
                         information of a engineer with a
                         shady past.

               The Shadowed figure tosses the thumb into the trash.
               Steven smiles.

                                     STEVEN (CONT'D)
                         It was someone that even Mike is
                         afraid of.

               He pulls a crumpled piece of paper out of the trash.  It
               (Signed) EL JEFE."

                         Someone that could force Mike to
                         cover for him.

               He picks up a rock and throws it at the Shadowed Figure,
               but the figure disappears and the rock slams against the
               trash can.  Steven turns away.

                         So what could that solar panel have
                         been for?

               He looks down on the ground.

                         Uh, Steven.

                         It could have been a car,

               He drops to the ground and examines the dirt.

                         How about a camera?

               He points up to a nearby building.

                         Excellent Wesley!

               On a nearby building there is a solar panel attached to the
               surveillance camera.

                                                                    CUT TO:

If you'd like to see what this looks like on film. Here you go! Bonus!


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