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02/11/01: Welcome to the Fold: Part Four
by The Gline

EXT. HOTEL -- THAT NIGHT

Elias and Sasha, dressed very well, hustling into the lobby.
 
                         ELIAS
          You know, the more I think about it,
          the more I kinda like the idea of
          heading up the main costume play
          committee myself...
 
                         SASHA
          Take it easy.  Youíve got enough on
          your plate as it is, just writing
          HARUNA.
 

FLASH SHOT

Of the costume players dressing each other.  This is the
same "dressing room shot" we saw before... except we see
more of it. At the very end of the line of dressers: YING
QUAN.  Watching the other costume players with cool, spying
eyes.
 

BACK TO SCENE -- CONTINUOUS
 
                         ELIAS
          It just sounds like fun, thatís all.
          Iím rolling again and enjoying myself!
          And in a way I donít want to miss any
          of the fun.
 
                         SASHA
          You wonít.

She pushes open the double doors to --
 

INT. BALLROOM -- CONTINUOUS

Where the SAME DANCE that we saw in Eliasís fantasy is
taking place.  The same decor, everything.  And at the
center of it all...
 

HARUNA AND THE PRINCE, CHEEK TO CHEEK

Elias sees them, and his breath is sucked away.
Specifically, SHE takes his breath away.

Elias is being announced by the FOOTMAN by the door, but he
doesnít really hear it.  He steps closer to her...

And then Haruna CHANGES PARTNERS on the Prince, JUST LIKE
SHE DID IN THE FANTASY. And her new partner is ELIAS.

For a moment they just dance, looking at each other.
 
                         ELIAS
               (approvingly)
          Haruna, I presume.
 
                         HARUNA
          Elias Marlowe.
               (beat)
          What do you think of me?
 
                         ELIAS
          I think Iím pretty goddamned impressed.
          I mean -- not just the look or the
          costumes or whatnot, but... you move
          the way I imagined she would move.  You
          sound like her.  How the hell?!

He laughs; she laughs with him.
 
                         HARUNA
          We -- I -- made some calculated
          guesses.  I suppose they paid off.
 
                         ELIAS
          Say, I hope he doesnít get jealous on
          you. That being in the script and
          all...

Elias shoots a glance over at the Prince, who is completely
ignoring them; heís sampling the punch bowl.
 
                         HARUNA
          No, weíre not that far into our roles.
          Yet.

They both share another laugh.
 
                         HARUNA
          May I ask you a question about your
          last book?  About VALIS?
 
                         ELIAS
          Sure.
 
                         HARUNA
          Why did you kill VALIS?  In terms of
          the story, it was what made sense...
          but I still want to know what you were
          thinking.
 
                         ELIAS
          Iím not sure I follow you...
 
                         HARUNA
          In every book in the series Valis has
          climbed higher and higher.  In the
          beginning he was a brute animal.  He
          went from being a soldier to a spy to a
          diplomat to a general... up and up and
          up.  The only real end for that kind of
          ascension is for him to become a god.

This woman is clearly smart.  Itís intimidating him a bit.
 
                         ELIAS
          Wait -- stop!  You didnít say a "god".
          You said, for him to die was what made
          sense.
 
                         HARUNA
          How else do you become a god?

Sheís got him there.  Heís fascinated.
 
                         ELIAS
          So who are you, really?  Outside of the
          outfit and the stuff I wrote.
 
                         HARUNA
          Is it so important?
 
                         ELIAS
          Itís important to me.  I want to know
          whatís going through the mind of
          someone looking into my work and seeing
          something looking back at them.
 
                         HARUNA
          I canít give you the answers now.  But
          I can tell you where to go to find the
          answers.

She steps back from him as the dance ends.
 
                         HARUNA
          Three Hundred Conduit Drive, Plaza
          Zero.  Come by tomorrow anytime after
          noon.

Elias grins broadly.
 
                         ELIAS
          Iíll bring lunch.

He steps back from her as she is drawn back into the crowd.
It takes him a lot of work to catch his breath.
 
                         ELIAS
               (sotto voce)
          Holy flying baby shit, what a woman.
 

INT. DRESSING ROOM

Ying Quan, dressed as one of the women in Harunaís
entourage, slips back in.  No one else about.  She slips out
the back door.
 

INT. HALLWAY NEAR RESTROOMS

Ying Quan enters; loiters near the ladiesí room.
Elias hustles up the hall a few moments later and heads into
the menís room.
Without hesitating, Ying Quan follows.
 

INT. MENíS ROOM

No one except for Ying Quan and Elias (about to enter a
stall).  Just as Elias swings the door shut --
BANG!!  Ying Quan THROWS herself against it.

Elias is HIT in the temple with the corner of the door.
Dazed.
Ying Quan jerks a HOOD over his head.
Seizes Eliasís tie and gets him into a CHOKEHOLD.
Drags him out in front of the sinks.

Someone else emerges from another stall.  Itís Foster.
He cocks his fist and BASHES Elias once, twice.  Elias
slumps.
 
                         FOSTER
               (to Ying Quan)
          Okay.  Gimme it.

Ying Quan gives up a GUN that resembles the others.
Foster dumps it in a toilet and FLUSHES.
 
                         YING QUAN
          Looks like we didnít need it after all.
 

INT. HALLWAY

Ying Quan and Foster drag-propel the now-limp now-blind
Elias towards a rear door and exit to...
 

EXT. REAR ALLEY

...where they drag Elias into a waiting CAR.  VRRROOOMM!
Tires SPIT GRAVEL and bite into the road.  The car zooms
off.
 

INT. BALLROOM

Sasha looks at her watch; looks around.  Confused.
Walks over to Haruna.
 
                         SASHA
          Excuse me -- have you seen Elias
          anywhere?
 
                         HARUNA
          Not since I danced with him.
 

INT. CAR -- MOVING

Elias, dazed, slowly shrugs off his dizziness.
 
                         ELIAS
          I didnít order a limo...
 
                         YING QUAN
          We did.

She leans on him in a manner that is anything but
suggestive.
Elias tries to keep his sense of humor about him.
 
                         ELIAS
          "We".  Okay, "we" is good.  "We"
          implies multiple conspirators, people
          with identifiable voices --

Foster socks him in the stomach.  Elias retches and shuts
up.
 

INT. BALLROOM

The whole place is being thrown into a quiet hysteria.
Every side room, every closet is being checked, with people
SHOUTING back and forth to each other.  Everyoneís pocket
PHONE seems to be RINGING at once.
Sasha is standing very, very still and looking very angry.

A COP comes over to her, with something on a dessert tray.
 
                         COP
          We found this in one of the toilets.

Itís whatís left of the GUN.
 

INT. WHITE ROOM

Blindingly bright.  Everyone is a hazy smudge.

Elias, still hooded, is half-dragged and half-wrestled into
the room by Ying Quan and Foster.  His feet SKID and SQUEAK
on the floors.

Sitting at the other end of the room is SLAZENGER.
 
                         SLAZENGER
          Give the man a chair.

Elias is strapped into a large chair.  The hood is folded
back enough for his mouth to be revealed, but nothing else.
 
                         SLAZENGER
          Can you hear me, Elias?
 
                         ELIAS
          Yeah... who is this?  Where--
 
                         SLAZENGER
          Good.  I want you to listen carefully.
          Iím about to give you some information
          that could save your life.
 
                         ELIAS
          Oh, yeah?
 
                         SLAZENGER
          Foster, loosen him up, would you?

Foster takes a rubber CLUB and slams it into Eliasís side.
Elias wheezes and writhes.
 
                         SLAZENGER
          Shut up and listen to what Iím telling
          you.  You and this make-believe, this
          adult playtime youíve spun for yourself
          and others -- this cesspool -- this
          legitimized masturbation fantasy.  Itís
          a big mistake, Elias.

Elias, still wheezing, tries to suck air back into his
lungs.
 
                         SLAZENGER
          Once upon a time people used to burn
          the books they didnít want other people
          to read.  I keep thinking, they had
          half the right idea, anyway.  They just
          didnít go far enough.
 
                         ELIAS
          ...the fuck are you talking about?
 
                         SLAZENGER
          Every story thatís ever been told is a
          lie.  Weíre out to destroy all the
          lies, Elias.

Foster and Ying Quan look on with cold eyes.
 
                         YING QUAN
          Beginning with burying you.

Elias is now shaking openly.
 
                         SLAZENGER
          In a little while, you will be sent
          home.  You will not be permanently
          injured -- but you will have more than
          enough to remember us by.  You will
          have sixty days to reconsider your
          position.  If in that time you have
          not, at the very least, removed your
          books from the market, we will destroy
          you.  -- This is not a request.
 
                         ELIAS
          Wait -- this is stupid --
 
                         SLAZENGER (TO FOSTER)
          No permanent damage, okay?

His words are knocked out of his mouth by Fosterís bruising
fists.  Over and over, until the room goes HAZY.

Somehow he is no longer wearing the hood.  Is he
hallucinating?

The straps on the chair come loose.  Elias tries to stand
and plummets to the floor.  He rolls over... sees the FACES
clustered over him...

...And one of them is HARUNA, reaching down to help him up.
Her hand is strong around his; he stands...
 
                         ELIAS
          Help me stand up... on my own feet...

...But sheís not there.  Heís wounded and delirious, and the
floor is rushing up to greet him.  WHAM!  BLACKOUT.

                                          CROSSFADE TO:
 

INT. HOSPITAL WARD -- NIGHT

Elias, in bed, seen from overhead.  Asleep.  Drugged.
Lying on his side with his ribs taped.
 
                         SASHA
          He had two sprung ribs and a punctured
          lung when they found him.  Itíll be at
          least a day before heís in any
          condition to tell us what happened.
 
                         HARUNA
          And no one saw him leave.  Or be
          removed.
 
                         SASHA
          Weíre following up on that now.  Not
          everythingís going to come at once.
               (beat)
          Weíll need to get a statement from you.
 

ANOTHER ANGLE -- SASHA AND HARUNA

Are watching Elias from behind a CLEAR PARTITION.
But Sasha is actually looking more at Haruna -- at the way
sheís looking at Elias.  Harunaís face is uncommonly RAPT.
 
                         SASHA
               (to Haruna)
          Come on.  He doesnít even know weíre
          here.

Haruna nods, not looking away.

                                                CUT TO:
 

INT. HARUNAíS ROOMS -- NIGHT

Rooms, plural.  Not just one room, but a honeycomb-like maze
of them.  Doorways gape open to some rooms; others lead into
and out of each other through ramps and little staircases.
It looks like a museum that someone tore all the exhibits
out of and decided to live in.

Haruna stands at a dresser, examining her half-dressed self
in a full-length mirror.  She steps back and yanks out the
SWORD that seems a staple prop for the character.

She fences with the air.  Her movements are a near-perfect
match for the fantasy version of her we saw earlier...
except this time the camera regards her with flat-out
realism.
 
                         HARUNAíS VOICE
               (taunting)
          Youíre in love.

A FANTASY HARUNA, like the one Elias ran with, sits in a
chair on the other side of the room.  Smirking at the "real"
Haruna.

The other Haruna turns and looks a little startled, but
relaxes.
 
                         HARUNA
          I like what I see in him.  Whatís wrong
          with that?
 
                         FANTASY HARUNA
          You liked what you saw in me, too.
          Nothing wrong with that.
 
                         HARUNA
          Well... What do you think of what weíve
          created so far?

Haruna gestures around.  Fantasy Haruna looks at the room(s)
approvingly.
 
                         FANTASY HARUNA
          All this for what you see in me...
 
                         HARUNA
          We threw away a lot of what we were to
          be this.  I hope it was worth it.

Fantasy Haruna shakes her head.
 
                         FANTASY HARUNA
          Iím not obliged to tell you that.
          Youíre going into uncharted territory
          here, all of you.  Personally... I
          canít wait to see what happens.

Haruna slices the air again with her sword.
Fantasy Haruna is gone.

Haruna brings up the sword in a sharp salute.
 
                         HARUNA
               (to herself)
          Youíre going to love it.
 

INT. ELIASíS APARTMENT -- AFTERNOON

Elias, alone, propped up in bed, with the Haruna books --
the originals -- in his lap.  Heís staring down at them,
working his mouth around, crimping his fingers.  Getting up
his nerve.
 
                         ELIAS
          Fuck it.

He slides a finger under the seal of the second book and
breaks it.
 

LATER

Elias is reading the books.  A strange expression on his
face, like heís seeing something he doesnít want to.

RAPID FOOTSTEPS getting closer --
 

INT. MANSION CORRIDORS -- NIGHT               (FANTASY)

The fantasy Haruna and her band of men and women are moving
as quickly and silently as they can through opulent
hallways.
Armed to the teeth.
 

EXT. MANSION                                  (FANTASY)

Haruna and the others dive out of windows seconds before the
mansion BURSTS INTO FLAMES.
 

ELIAS

Turning pages.  His frown deepening.
 

EXT. ALLEYWAY -- DAY/NIGHT                   ; (FANTASY)

A figure in RAGS plasters up POSTERS with Harunaís face:
REWARD.
TIME-LAPSE as the poster ages and fades with the seasons.
And then, at normal speed, ANOTHER POSTER gets plastered up
over that one: "THE ESCAPADES OF HARUNA (available at
Worther & Cie.)"
 
                         ELIAS (V.O.)
          It wasnít long before what little truth
          was known about her life was twisted
          out of shape.
 

EXT. BOOKSELLERíS -- DAY                    ;  (FANTASY)

Copies of THE ESCAPADES OF HARUNA -- a cheap, dime-novel-
type rendition of Harunaís adventures -- stacked up in the
window. A curious crowd mills in and out.
Haruna, in disguise, peers from a nearby doorway.
She is obviously disgusted.
 
                         ELIAS (V.O.)
          If there was anything worse for her
          life than infamy, it was celebrity.
 
 

Gline's script will come to a rather dramatic, and surprising, conclusion in next months zine! Watch for it!.