Alec Rossiter
Screenwriter





            CUTAWAY -- sample sequence

            Feature screenplay -- Fantasy/comedy/romance


           
Daniel hits rock bottom. He excercises his fantasies in
               an imagined world and regains control of his real life.

               Our protagonist fantasies that he has become a private eye
               in a film noir B movie.  The characters he meets are also
               players in his real life:
               
               
Copyright -- Alec Rossiter.



               INT. PRIVATE DETECTIVE OFFICE - DAY

[STYLE: Noir B-Movie]

Music: 'The Edge' - David Axelrod.

Venetian blinds open casting a heavy shadow over DANIEL.
Smoke rises from his cigarette - he wears a fedora, his
trench coat collars turned up, and a few days stubble.

GLASS WINDOW OF THE OFFICE DOOR:

is being freshly painted: 'D. Hughes, Private Detective.'

CUT BACK TO:

Daniel sits behind a desk and opens the drawer - a half
empty bottle of bourbon inside.

DANIEL (V.O.)
Life was a dream, a fleeting
shadow on a cloudy day. The town
was so gloomy I wasn't sure if
the sun was still in the sky.

Daniel looks around as if looking for the source of the
V.O. He closes the drawer. He opens another drawer - a
pistol.

DANIEL (V.O.) (CONT'D)
I had a feeling -- well let's
just say I had a feeling. This
pond was too deep to fish around
for emotions, all I could hope do
was sweep the scum off the
surface.

Daniel closes the draw and strikes a match across the desk
lighting another cigarette.

DANIEL (V.O.) (CONT'D)
A light inside me shone on the
truth. The brighter the flame,
the more it burnt.

Daniel picks up a newspaper - the headlines read: 'MALONEY
PRISON RELEASE,' and 'CRIME RATE DOUBLES.' There is a
mugshot of Tony Maloney.

A shadow crosses the office door window. SMASH! A fake
hand shatters through the glass. Daniel opens the pistol
drawer. TONY enters with his CRONIES brandishing guns.

CRONY 1
I think someone forget their
manners.

CRONY 1 takes the pistol from the drawer and a cigarette
from the desk.

CRONY 1 (CONT'D)
Smokin' boss?

TONY
I don't smoke cheap cigarettes.

CRONY 1
Sorry boss.

DANIEL
It's polite to knock.

Crony 1 holds the pistol to Daniel's head.

TONY
Cool it fast fingers, he's got a
fresh face, I would hate to ruin
it.

CRONY 1
If that's a fresh face I'd sure
like to see one that ain't.

Tony shoots a look at Crony 1.

CRONY 1 (CONT'D)
Sorry boss.

TONY
That paint work was pretty fresh
to.

CRONY 2
Say, wasn't this Detective
Smithee's office?

TONY
Yeah, Smithee had an accident.

CRONY 2
Detectives in this city seem to
be real accident prone.

The cronies snigger, Tony glances at them, they stop.

TONY
Smithee was running a little case
for me. Seems that Smithee liked
to get a little too involved in
his work.

Using his fake hand CRONY 2 puts a photo of Nicky on the
table.

TONY (CONT'D)
Smithee was tracking this dame --
she's an old friend of mine.
Shame she grew a sour face.

Sirens in the background.

CRONY 1
More old friends boss.

TONY
Let me recap Hughes.

Crony 1 holds a gun to Daniel again.

TONY (CONT'D)
One. You find the dame. Alive.
Two. Then we find you.
Three. You know what three is
don't you Hughes?

DANIEL
Remind me?

Crony 1 pushes the pistol right into Daniel's face.

CRONY 1
Looks like he ducked detective
school boss.

TONY
You ain't workin' for no one, and
that's why you workin' for free.

SMASH! Crony 2 has smashed through the exterior window.

TONY (CONT'D)
Lucky your a fast learner Hughes.

Tony and his cronies climb out of the window.

Three armed POLICE OFFICERS enter through the office door.
Daniel reaches for the empty pistol drawer.

POLICE OFFICER 1
I didn't catch your name,
detective?

POLICE OFFICER 2
Wait -- you're Hughes. 7th
Prescint -- discharged -- you
were working the Durati case --
found not guilty -- lack of
evidence.

POLICE OFFICER 3
Washed up in a detective outfit,
better than the pigeon feed you
get in the force is it Hughes?

POLICE OFFICER 1
(Kicks the glass)
So who's the visitors Hughes?

DANIEL
The cleaners are little heavy
handed.

POLICE OFFICER 3
Knuckle dusters are they Hughes?

Officers 2 and 3 snigger, Officer 1 looks at them, they
stop. Officer 1 looks at photo of Nicky on the desk and
whistles.

POLICE OFFICER 1
Married Hughes?

Daniel puts the photo in his pocket.

DANIEL
It's a case I'm working.

POLICE OFFICER 2
He's tracking his wife! She
packed up and left him.

POLICE OFFICER 3
Was it the bottle Hughes? Or she
left you for another man?

JO enters.

JO
Sorry I'm late.

POLICE OFFICER 2
Had a bit on the side did you
Hughes?!

JO
Miss Jackson, the secretary.

POLICE OFFICER 1
It's not a social call madam --
(Looks her up and down)
although next time it might be.

JO
You have a warrant for that
officer?

POLICE OFFICER 1
This lead just hit a dead end.

POLICE OFFICER 3
Hear that. Dead end, Hughes.

POLICE OFFICER 1
Detective, we'll let you finish
your housework. Miss Jackson.

POLICE OFFICER 2
We're watching you Hughes.

The Police Officers exit through the window.

JO
Your lettin' off an awful lot of
heat.

DANIEL
So this is Smithee's office?

JO
Was. He left in the interval.
Looks like your the second act.
You have the same taste in cheap
suits.

Daniel picks up the paper.

DANIEL
And you know this guy?

JO
Sure, everyone knows Maloney, he
runs this town, that includes a
successful glazing racket. Lets
get out of here before you have a
tea party.

Daniel goes to the office door. Jo is climbing out of the
window, Daniel follows.



INT. DIVE BAR - NIGHT

TREVOR and SIMON are performing magic tricks on stage.

DANIEL is at the bar.

DANIEL
Bourbon.

The BARMAN takes a bottle of liquor.

DANIEL (CONT'D)
Keep it cheap, straight up.

The barman takes a different bottle and serves the drink.
Daniel takes the photo of Nicky out of his pocket.

DANIEL (V.O.) (CONT'D)
I knew the type. The kind of
girl who broke your heart before
you've even met her.

TREVOR
Now our deadly gorgeous assistant
-- Miss 'disappearing' Lewis.

DANIEL
This place stunk like a trap, I
could taste last night's catch in
the air.

NICKY enters stage.

DANIEL (V.O.) (CONT'D)
Every heart in the room skipped a
beat. My heart jumped out and
tried to drown itself in my
drink.

Daniel downs his bourbon.

NICKY
Take a good look boys.

SIMON
And now the disappearing act.

HECKLER
Give me a song doll face!

The WAITRESS 'accidentally' spills her drink over the
HECKLER.

Trevor and Simon tie Nicky to a post. They pull a curtain
around all three of them.

The crowd hold their breath.
Nicky opens the curtains and Trevor and Simon have
disappeared!

NICKY
Keep on lookin'.

HECKLER
All right!

Confused applause and the curtains fall.



INT. BACKSTAGE - NIGHT

NICKY is struggling to climb out of a window. DANIEL
enters.

DANIEL
You ain't so good at
disappearing.

NICKY
What's a girl gotta do to get
some fresh air? Don't I know you
from some place?

DANIEL (V.O.)
I didn't know what that place
was, but I was about to dive in
with a lead belt tied round my
waist.

DANIEL (CONT'D)
I gather you've met my detective
friend, apparently we have the
same taste in suits.

Nicky gives up with the window.

NICKY
I ain't interested in no private
eyes.

DANIEL
Maybe you need to get better at
answering questions?

Nicky provocatively approaches Daniel and strokes him.

NICKY
Maybe the questions ain't in
question?

DANIEL
What's the matter. You worried
about gettin' washed up?

NICKY
Like you said, I ain't so good at
answers.

DANIEL
You can't run you're whole life.
Sometime you gotta take what you
got.

NICKY
If you wanna order starters
whilst I'm finishing desert, then
that's your choice pal -- mine is
a huge hunk of future pie and you
ain't gonna be tryin' it.

Daniel pulls Nicky close to him.

DANIEL (V.O.)
Maybe I had to sink to the bottom
before I could come back up.

NICKY (V.O.)
You ain't coming back up.

Daniel pulls Nicky closer to him - behind Daniels back
Nicky's hand takes a knife from the makeup table. They are
about to embrace - Nicky aims the knife.

WAITRESS (O.S.)
Scccreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaam!

Daniel turns knocking the knife out of Nicky's hand.



INT. UNDERNEATH STAGE TRAP DOOR - NIGHT

TREVOR and SIMON are tied up - blood dripping dead. The
WAITRESS drops her tray on the floor.



INT. BACKSTAGE - NIGHT

NICKY clobbers a chair over DANIEL's head knocking him to
the ground, then smashes it through the window and climbs
out.

Enter POLICE OFFICERS.

POLICE OFFICER 1
Hughes!

Daniel clambers up picking up the knife and severs a rope -
a rack of costumes and props fall on top of the officers
obstructing their path. Daniel jumps out of the window.



INT. CAR - DAY

JO is waiting at the steering wheel and DANIEL jumps in.
They SCREEECH off! Through the windows we see back
projected street.

DANIEL
You see the dame?

JO
You ain't the only one with a
getaway driver.

DANIEL
Nice wheels.

JO
Deuce coupe de luxe, flathead
Ford V8, with two piece. The
Baby Lincoln was a real find.

Sirens in the background.

JO (CONT'D)
They call these suicide doors.

Jo opens the door backward using it as a shield whilst
unloading at the flashing blues. BANG! Daniel takes the
wheel and skids around oncoming traffic taking off a wing
mirror.

JO (CONT'D)
It's okay, the baby ain't mine.

DANIEL
Who's your friend?

Shoots. BANG! Returned. BANG!

JO
38 Smith and Wesson 1905 M n' P,
8 inches...

DANIEL
I mean whose wheels?

JO
It was parked on 60th before 5th
- I should find the owner, I need
a man with a strong motor.

BANG! Daniel takes a corner.

DANIEL
She's a lot to handle.

BANG! They return fire and smash the rear window.

JO
I ain't the kind of secretary
that waters the office greenery.
I prefer aiming at this kind of
plant life.
You might be wearing the trousers
Hughes, but if you don't stick
with me you'll be wearing your
brains.

DANIEL
I'm starting to loose track who's
the good guys here?

JO
Look, you don't want to end up
drinking coffee at police HQ.
Why do think they are so cranky?
And they are more bent than my
shootin'...

She hands him the gun and takes the wheel.

JO (CONT'D)
...it ain't so straight, I've
been sleeping crooked.

Daniel leans out the window and takes some pot shots.

DANIEL
Arghhhh!

Daniel has taken a bullet. Jo offers a sideways glance.

FADE TO BLACK.

DING. DING. DING. DING. DING. DING.

The car has stopped in front of a rail crossing and a train
rattles past. DANIEL has passed out, he is woken up.

DANIEL (CONT'D)
Uh!

JO
Cattle trucks!

DANIEL
(Holds his arm)
Arghhhh.

JO
It's just a pinch.
Whilst you been sleeping beauty,
we been on the trail to go'damn
no where.

DANIEL
Where is she?

JO
This nose just lost the scent.

JO winds down the window to a man holding flowers.

CRONY 1
Flowers lady?

JO
Can you tell me the name of this
go'damn hill billy town?

CRONY 1
Sure lady, you just drived
straight into stick up city.

CRONY 1 reveals a gun inside the bunch of flowers. CRONY
2's fake hand smashes through Daniel's window.

FADE TO BLACK.



EXT. RAIL TRACKS - DAY

DANIEL is getting drenched by water pumped out of a water
tower.

TONY
There's no point in crying
Hughes!

The CRONIES stop drenching Daniel and pick him up - his
hands are tied together behind his back. There are two
sets of train tracks, NICKY is tied to one and JO the other
- mouths taped up.

TONY (CONT'D)
Which side of the tracks do you
lay on detective?

The sniggering cronies carry Daniel into a signal box.



INT. SIGNAL BOX - DAY

The CRONIES handcuff DANIEL to the points levers.

TONY
You used to have a train set
Hughes -- Now you playing with
the big boys.
Tell him fast fingers.

CRONY 1
The train gonna' come a puffin'
through over little blondie at
twenty one zero four. Run like
clockwork boss.

TONY
What's the time no fingers.

CRONY 2
It's twenty one zero two boss.

TONY
That's unless you change your
mind, if you change these points.

Crony 1 pulls the lever Daniel is handcuffed to.

CRONY 1
...that gonna choo-choo on over
you're little secretary friend.

Crony 1 pushes the lever back.

TONY
Say, what's the time now fast
fingers.

CRONY 1
(Sniggering)
It's twenty one zero three boss.

TONY
At the levers of power Hughes.
Your finger prints all over this
rail set.
When's the boys in blue going to
be here no fingers?

CRONY 2
On their way now boss.

TONY
Looks like you walked right into
the frame Hughes.

MALONEY and his cronies exit.



EXT. SIDE STREET - DAY

MALONEY's car stops next to a police squad car. CRONY 1
passes a bundle of cash through the window.

TONY
I think that'll be enough to
charge him on all counts.

POLICE OFFICER 1
Sure thing boss.

Maloney's car screeches off.



INT. SIGNAL BOX - DAY

DANIEL tries to break free from the lever. He can't.

Water drips of his face.

We hear the tracks creaking - a is train coming.

DING. DING. DING. DING.... (O.S.)

Daniel closes his eyes. He pulls the lever.



EXT. RAIL TRACKS -

HOOOOOOOOOOOONK! The train batters past...

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