The Hard Dick by Craig Blamer

This Play is the copyright of the Author and may not be performed, copied or sold without the Author's prior consent

CUE: Robert Cobert's "The Night Stalker Theme"

FADE UP: SLEDGE'S OFFICE

The silhouette of NICK SLEDGE attacks a TYPEWRITER. He sports a
fedora. Cigarette.

SLEDGE (V.O.): Wasn't long ago, back before I went mad, that the
nations of the world picked sides…then tried to kill as many of each
other's boys as possible. And to prove a point of some kind. They
called it The War to End All Wars, later known as World War One. The
rumpus did so well for the moneybags that a sequel was staged twenty
years later.

He tears the page free and reads aloud:

SLEDGE (V.O.): And since World War Two seemed like a boring name,
they added Nazis and some new toys to the mix to sex things up.
Dangerous toys. Toys beyond the grasp of man's apelike minds…

He steps away from the typewriter and out of silhouette. SIGHS. Wads
up the paper and tosses it.

SLEDGE: Writing is no occupation for a man.

He shrugs into a trenchcoat. Steps out of office into…

THE STREETS

CUE: Ray Anthony's "Peter Gunn"

SLEDGE: This story starts before Nazis became Evil. Before the
beginning of the end…Hollywood in the late thirties. The cheap side
of town. Where men are either soft or hard and the dames housebroken
or dangerous.

A NEWSIE holds up a paper…

NEWSIE: "Sledge Back On The Streets!"

Sledge catches up with a HOOKER, takes her hand and pulls her into a
SWING DANCE. Ace news photog SQUEEGEE darts up…

FLASH!

...takes a snap with his camera. At the end of a TWIRL…

HOOKER: You're one swingin' dick, Nick Sledge.

...as he reels her back to him and they KISS. The music cuts off with
a RECORD SCRATCH…as an AUDIENCE DUDE yaps on his cellphone.

AUDIENCE DUDE: Whazzat? No, I'm watching a play. Yeah, no. It's
like a movie, but the actors are on a stage. Yeah, it's weird…

Sledge SNATCHES the phone away…SMASH!

AUDIENCE DUDE: You…dick!

Sledge grabs him by the collar and drags him out onto the stage. The
Hooker stifles a scream with the back of fist, and scrambles out of
sight. Sledge proceeds to kick the shit out of the man.

SLEDGE: Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?

The Dude BREAKS away and SCUTTLES off. Sledge eyes the audience…

SLEDGE: Anyone else?

A POLICE SIREN nears. Winds down. Stops. Sledge looks over his
shoulder…police lights FLASH.

DET. DUNNING and OFFICER KRUGER stand over a body…it's the
Hooker.

SLEDGE: Dunning. Kruger.

DUNNING: I'm Dunning. He's Kruger.

Sledge's look would freeze nitrogen.

DUNNING: Fine, I'll be Kruger.

SLEDGE: What happened?

KRUGER: Some maniac just ripped her heart out.

SLEDGE: What a waste. She was stacked.

Sledge moves on. The two Cops deflate.

DUNNING: Give a guy a dick license and he thinks he owns the town.

KRUGER: You gonna tell him that he doesn't?

Dunning thinks on it….as Sledge STORMS back. Dunning and Kruger run
away. Squeegee runs up to Sledge and offers eight-by-tens…

SQUEEGEE: Which one to go with for the morning edition, Nick?

Sledge thumbs through the snaps.

SLEDGE: Use this one…and I'll take this.

SQUEEGEE: The one of you kissing the dead hooker?

SLEDGE: Yeah. Before she was dead.

Sledge tucks the photo in a side pocket, pushes by Squeegee. Crosses
as the ROAR of a large CAR approaches…

SPU-LASH!

...and is gone. Sledge is drenched. He smolders, tosses snuffed
cigarette aside. His glare would crack lesser faces. He adjusts his
fedora and enters…

CROSSFADE: MICKEY'S TAVERN

It's a seedy dive blessed with a songbird. Torch singer MIYU NEKO
is burning the house down…

MIYU (sings): Nothing in particular/I'm singing about/nothing in
particular…

The BARTENDER spits in a glass, wipes it with a dirty towel. The DOOR
BANGS open…

SLEDGE: Same characters, different cast.

MIYU (sings): And then he walked in/the only one who could/whip this
kitten…

BARTENDER: The usual, Nick?

SLEDGE: I'm on the wagon. Gimme a bottle of Pabst. Blue Ribbon.

The Bartender slides him a Pabst.

SLEDGE: Where is everyone?

BARTENDER: They left. Entertainment's too Oriental.

Sledge eyes a table of CULT MEMBERS. They're dressed in black.
Faces painted white.

SLEDGE: When you start letting in the futzin' mimes?

BARTENDER: They're not mimes. They're from the Order of the
Starry Window. One of those doomsday cults that pop up like weeds in
this town.

SLEDGE: I know what they are. Commies. Any idea why someone would rip
the heart out of a hooker?

BARTENDER: Other than the usual reasons?

SLEDGE: Yeah.

BARTENDER: No.

MIYU (sings): ...and get me some/of that Hard Dick.

She wraps up the song as he finishes the beer. The Bartender replaces
it as Miyu eases up behind Sledge.

MIYU: Like what you see?

Sledge tips back the beer…

SLEDGE: Lick your lips.

She obliges. Slowly, with as much burn as she put in the song. Sledge
pulls her in for a KISS. He throws some change on the bar and turns to
leave. He's taking Miyu with him.

BARTENDER: See ya, Nick. Oh…and Miyu? I can lock the doors and sell
more booze. You are fired.

Sledge takes the cigarette from his mouth, drives it into the
Bartender's face. A WILHELM SCREAM. Sledge shoves him off.

SLEDGE (to Miyu): C'mon, kitten. Beauty's wasted on the blind.

They turn from the bar and the eight-by-ten falls from his pocket,
drifts to the floor.

As they exit, the Bartender steps around and picks it up…eyes the
Mimes.

BARTENDER: Shaddup.

FADE UP: HALLWAY

CUE: The Viscounts' "Harlem Nocturne"

Sledge fumbles with the door. Miyu SIGHS as the key slides in. The
door across the hall opens…

...meet MARIE PREVOST. A good-looking kid, sliding into frowsy. She
eyes Miyu over a tumbler. DOGS YAP.

MARIE: Hey, Nick.

Voice pure Brooklyn, soaked with cheap bourbon.

MARIE: You're not gonna keep me up all night again, are you?

SLEDGE (to Miyu): This is my neighbor Marie Provost…

MARIE: Prevost.

SLEDGE: Whatever. She used to be a movie star.

Marie toasts Miyu, takes a drink. The DOGS YAP.

SLEDGE: Hey, Marie. Those little Dachshunds sound hungry.

MARIE: That's low, Nick.

Sledge pulls Miyu into his room. Marie eyes the closed door, steps
back into her lonely nest.

MARIE (O.S.): C'mon. Let Mamma feed you.

The dogs YAP.

FADE OUT: IN DARKNESS…

CUE: 70s PORN MUSIC (soft)

MIYU: Don't worry, Nick. It can happen to any-

SLAP!

MIYU: Oh. Do that again. I like it.

CRACK!

MIYU: There we go…

The Porn Music rises.

FADE UP: THE MUSEUM

The signal of The Bat hangs over the museum. LIGHT spears down to
reveal a DISPLAY CASE. A fist-sized DIAMOND rests on velvet.

CUE: "Dragnet" stab.

DUNNING (O.S.): Why they send us to check on the rock?

Officers Dunning and Kruger enter.

KRUGER: It's The Bat, man. Cap'n Albright says…

DUNNING: Just what we need. Another joker playing dress-up.

KRUGER: He's not some local two-bit thief. He's an international
cat-burglar, see? The signal is up in the sky, which means he's
about to strike.

DUNNING: Yeah?

KRUGER: Yeah.

DUNNING: You've seen him? This Bat character?

KRUGER: Once. A shadow darting along the roofline. Just a glimpse,
though.

DUNNING: Was he accessorized?

KRUGER: All sorts of gear. And a cape. A mask that covers his face,
huge bat ears sprouting from the sides. And a codpiece.

DUNNING: Wait, rewind…a codpiece?

KRUGER: Yeah.

DUNNING: Did he have nipples? On his costume?

KRUGER: Don't be an ass.

DUNNING: Dunno. Sounds like a queer sort.

Behind them, THE BAT swoops down a line, sweeps up the diamond and
disappears.

KRUGER: Say…wanna go get a latte and croissant?

DUNNING: What about the diamond?

KRUGER: It's not going anywhere. This joint is more secure than the
Maginot Line.

Sirens fill the night. Emergency lights splash.

NEWSIE (O.S.): "The Bat Plays Cops For Suckers! Again!"

CUE: "Dragnet" stab.

Police Captain ALBRIGHT stalks in. Rumpled trench and wilted fedora.
He looks constipated. The cops move to block sight of the empty
display case.

ALBRIGHT: What's the rumpus, boys?

KRUGER: The Bat's been here, Cap'n Albright.

DUNNING: But he's done gone.

ALBRIGHT: Have you checked around? Thoroughly?

DUNNING: Inside, outside, up and down the streets.

KRUGER: No sign of him.

ALBRIGHT: What's missing?

DUNNING: Just the Caine Diamond.

ALBRIGHT: Just the rock, huh?

DUNNING (to Kruger): Yeah?

KRUGER: Yeah.

DUNNING (to Albright): Yeah.

ALBRIGHT: It's nights like this that make me glad prohibition is
finally over.

CUE: SAD TROMBONE.

FADE OUT

[end of extract]

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