WILD BILL

lies dead, staring with glassy eyes. A FLASHBULB POPS,

rimming him with harsh blue light...

INT. E BLOCK - DAWN

...as Hal arrives, wearing his pajama top under his overcoat.

He sees the POLICE PHOTOGRAPHER taking pictures. The guards

are giving statements to GROUPS OF COPS, everybody murmuring:

DEAN

...well, I dunno, he just snapped,

I guess...

HARRY

...s'right, one minute he's fine,

the next--blammo...

BRUTAL

...bastard grabbed him through the

bars a few days back, scared the

boy so bad he wet himself...

Hal turns, sees:

PERCY

sits handcuffed on the floor of the Mile, eyes glassier than

Wild Bill's. TWO COPS are trying to snap him out of it:

COP #1

Son! Son! Can you hear me?

COP #2

Speak up if you can hear us! We

gotta ask you some questions!

A MEDIC is raising Percy's eyelid with his thumb, shining a

penlight, getting no reaction.

MEDIC

I think this boy's cheese slid off

his cracker.

HAL

sees Paul, motions him aside to talk privately:

HAL

I'll cover you as much as I can,

even if it mean my job, but I have

to know. Does this have anything

to do with what happened at my

house? Does it, Paul?

Paul looks Hal in the eye. As with Bitterbuck, the lie comes

easy:

PAUL

No.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - DAY

TRACKING A PAIR OF FEET shuffling into the room in hospital

slippers, escorted by TWO ORDERLIES. The patient is brought

to a window. The orderlies turn to leave...

...and we BOOM UP to reveal Percy, catatonic, staring out the

same window where we met Wild Bill...

EXT. HOSPITAL - DAY

...and we WIDEN SLOWLY from Percy at the window to reveal his

last stop in life. It's emblazoned on the gate: BRIAR RIDGE

MENTAL HOSPITAL. He finally got that transfer.

CUT TO:

EXT. PAUL'S HOUSE - DUSK

TIGHT ON PAUL as softly:

PAUL

It makes sense. I read the file.

Hal even said it himself. Wharton

rambled all over the state last

few years, causing trouble. Hell,

longer than that. Been at it since

he was ten. Vandalism. Petty

theft. Setting fires.

ANGLE SHIFTS to include Jan, Brutal, Harry and Dean. They're

in the brambly patch that borders the woods behind the house.

The sun is setting, turning the horizon fiery.



JAN

You saw him. You actually saw this

Wild Bill person take those girls.

PAUL

Their father hired him on for a

few days last spring, help repair

the barn. Cheap labor, just

another drifter...

BRUTAL

Only not.

PAUL

Sick bastard came back a month

later, just before dawn. Took the

girls...did what he did. Coffey

found them afterwards and tried to

help. It was too late.

JAN

(absorbs this)

Then you can stop it. The

execution, I mean. Get Coffey a

new trial.

PAUL

Based on what, honey? Some kind of

magical vision I had?

JAN

Show this farmer--what's his name,

Detterick?--show him a picture of

Wild Bill.

(off their looks)

Why not? If Wharton was there...if

the farmer can identify his

picture and they know he was

there...

BRUTAL

Him being there in May doesn't

mean he came back and killed those

girls in June. Even if he was

committing other crimes.

PAUL

They got their killer as far as

they're concerned.

Hell, Coffey's own lawyer would

come throw the switch if we let

him.

JAN

Then lie.

PAUL

Lie? About what?

JAN

Tell them Wharton confessed to the

crime. Brutus, you can back him

up, say you heard it too. You can

say that's what set Percy off. He

shot Wharton because he couldn't

stand thinking of what happened to

those two little girls, it snapped

his mind...

(seeing their looks)

...what? What now?

DEAN

We never reported anything like

that. We would've, too, everybody

knows it. It's part of our job.

BRUTAL

Besides, confessing don't make it

so. Slugs like Wild Bill lie about

everything. Crimes they committed,

women they had, even the weather.

JAN

But he was there! He painted their

barn! He ate dinner with them!

PAUL

All the more reason he might take

credit for the crime. He's gonna

fry anyway, so why not boast?



Jan stands thinking for a moment, then:

JAN

All right. Then you've got to get

John Coffey out on your own.

HARRY

Ma'am?

JAN

You did it once, didn't you? Only

this time, don't bring him back.

Dean blinks, stunned by this notion. Gently:

DEAN

Ma'am, your son's grown up and

moved away. My kids are just

starting kindergarten. Will you be

the one to explain to them why

their daddy's in prison?

JAN

Work out a plan. Make it look like

a real escape.

HARRY

Better be a plan an imbecile could

dream up. Nobody'd believe it

otherwise.

BRUTAL

Even if we did think of something,

it wouldn't do any good.

JAN

Why not? Just why the hell not?

PAUL

Because he's a six-foot-eight-inch

baldheaded black man with barely

enough brains to feed himself. How

long you think it'd be before he

was recaptured? Two hours? Six?

Jan swipes a tear away with the heel of her hand. Softly:

JAN

Do you mean to kill him, you

cowards? Do you?

Paul tries to take her hand. She wrenches away, furious.

JAN

Don't touch me! Next week this

time you'll be a murderer, no

better than that man Wharton, so

don't touch me!

She runs off toward the house, starting to sob as we

DISSOLVE TO:

INT PAUL'S KITCHEN - NIGHT

Paul is at the kitchen table in the wee hours, at his regular

place, sipping his beer. Irving Berlin's "Remember" PLAYS

SOFTLY on the radio. Jan comes down, looking miserable and

exhausted.

JAN

I'm so sorry I called you a

coward. I feel worse about that

than anything I've ever said to

you in our whole marriage.

PAUL

Even that time we went camping and

you called me Old Stinky Sam?

She can't help smiling at that. He returns the smile, offers

her a sip of beer. She takes it, sits.

JAN

Does Hal know? That Coffey's

innocent, I mean?

(Paul shakes his head)

Can he help? Does he have the

influence to do something about

this?

PAUL

No.

JAN

Then don't tell him. If he can't

help, don't tell him. Ever.

PAUL

I won't.

JAN

(beat)

There's no way out of this for

you, is there?

PAUL

No. I've been thinking about it,

too, believe me.

(beat)

Tell you the truth, honey. I've

done some things in my life I'm

not proud of, but this is the

first time I've ever felt in real

danger of hell.

JAN

Hell? Oh Paul...

(touches his face)

Talk to him. Talk to John. Find

out what he wants.

CUT TO:


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