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> TREMORS
tanith
post Feb 6 2011, 02:43 PM
Post #1


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BENEATH PERFECTION



The high desert -- absolutely silent -- a vast, hard land-
scape stretching away to distant mountains. The silence is
broken by hoof-beats.


It's a simple cabin dwarfed by a big, ramshackle barn. EDGAR
DEEMS (60s), a weathered desert rat of a hermit, is walking
his donkey around in circles.

Now, rattling toward them down an endless dirt road, comes an
old, sun-bleached Buick. It stops and out leans OLD FRED
(70s) wearing a sweat-stained fedora. The two friends nod.

OLD FRED
How's she doing?

EDGAR
She wants to lay down. I'm a little worried.

Old Fred climbs out with a bushel basket of carrots.

OLD FRED
Well, I brung her something I know she likes.

EDGAR
Damn, Fred, you can't give away all those.

OLD FRED
Forget it. I got vegetables coming out my ears. Usually the varmints
eat up half my crop, but lately I ain't so much as seen a gopher or a
jack-rabbit nowheres.

EDGAR
If that ain't the truth. And I count on them for a little bit of
stew meat...Thank you, Fred.

Edgar takes the carrots and feeds one to the donkey.

EDGAR
Here you go, Justine. Look what Fred brought you.

OLD FRED
We playing cards tonight?

EDGAR
I think I'm gonna be sitting up with her.

OLD FRED
I'd do the same. Well, catch you Thursday.

EDGAR
You bet.

The men nod, and Old Fred drives off.

Edgar leads her to the barn.

EDGAR
Let's get you out of the sun for a spell.

EDGAR
I'll get you some fresh water.

But, suddenly, the donkey restlessly stomping its
hooves and braying. Edgar turns, concerned. Now we hear an
odd sound. Distant thunder? The wind? The donkey gets more
and more frantic.

The barn shudders violently. Frightened birds explode from
the eaves. Dust puffs from every old seam. Roof shingles
rain down. Edgar stares in amazement.

EDGAR
...some kind of earthquake!?

Then another sound -- the donkey starts screeching in wild
panic.

EDGAR
Justine, hang on! I'm coming!

Edgar races back to the barn and flings open the doors.

Dust swirls through the air. But -- the barn in empty. No
donkey. Now Edgar is hit by a ghastly stench. He staggers
back, and covers his nose with a handkerchief. Then he sees,
splattered across the walls -- blood!

EDGAR
What in the name of Jehovah...?

He raises his arms above the door frame. When he lowers them
he's holding a 12 gauge shotgun. He races outside, ready to
shoot, but there's nothing -- as far as the eye can see.

The sun lights up spectacular sheer cliffs which plunge 1000
feet from a ruggedly beautiful high-desert plateau. At the
top of the cliffs, silhouetted against the dawn, a lone cow-
boy seems to gaze in deep contemplation at the sunrise. As
we MOVE IN, we realize he's actually peeing over the cliff.

This is VALENTINE MCKEE (25). Smart and good looking, Val
has nevertheless managed to underachieve brilliantly. He
coasts through life, following the path of least resistance
-- which has brought him to this dubious rustic existence on
the edge of civilization. But lately he's beginning to
wonder why he hasn't accomplished more in his 25 years.

As a few sleepy cows gaze at him, sleepy Val shuffles over to
his battered old pickup truck. A hand-painted sign on the
door reads: "V & E -- All Type's of Job's." Indeed, the
pick-up bed is jumbled with tools and supplies for every
conceivable odd job -- and the noisily snoring form of his
partner huddled in a dirty sleeping bag. Val raps on the
side of the truck.

VAL
Good morning, Mr. Bassett, this is your wake-up call. Please move
your fat ass.

No response from the sleeping bag. Val stares at the cows
chewing their cud -- and perks up as he gets an idea. He
gently steps onto the truck's running board, then suddenly
starts jumping up and down as hard as he can, rocking the
truck violently.

VAL
STAMPEDE! EARL, GET OUT OF THE WAY!

The sleeping bag tries to get up and run for it. It tumbles
out of the back of the pickup. While Val laughs uproar-
iously, EARL BASSET (43) claws his way out of the bag, looks
around wildly, and finds himself staring at three motionless
cows.

EARL
You dumb shit.

Earl is a good-ol' boy who has lived his life just like Val,
drifting from job to job. He knows why he hasn't accom-
plished anything, and often tries to impart his hard-won
wisdom to Val, but the last thing the younger man wants is
advice.

Earl stretches. The men begin a silent ritual: Earl gropes
through his pockets for a cigarette, but only finds a
lighter. Meanwhile, Val digs in his pockets, coming up with
cigarettes, but no lighter. Typical of these two, each guy
always has half of what he needs. Eventually they sort it
out, trading the necessary implements.

Earl reaches for a coffee-pot on a battered Coleman stove on
the tailgate. But it's cold.

EARL
You didn't cook breakfast?

VAL
Did it yesterday. Franks and beans.

EARL
No...it was eggs. I did eggs.

VAL
Hell you did. Your turn.

Earl raises his fist. This is The Challenge, and it instantly
triggers the partners' conflict-resolution technique. They
solve all disputes using the children's game of "scissors,
rock, paper." Earl raises his fist in response. The game is
played swiftly and silently -- one, two, three. On three,
Val mimes "paper" (open hand. Earl mimes "scissors" (two
extended fingers). Scissors cuts paper. Val has lost. He
shrugs and starts pumping up the stove fuel tank.

VAL
Well, when I'm your age I'll probably forget what I eat, too.

Val and Earl are restringing a dilapidated, and seemingly
endless, barbed wire fence. A few bored cows watch them.

VAL
How many cows does it take to make a stampede? Is it like three or
more? Is there a minimum speed?

EARL
I was in one. A bolt of lightning blew up cottonwood tree. Three
hundred head going hell-bent for the horizon. Wasn't so damn funny,
I can tell you.

Earl's hand slips and the fence snags him right through his
thick glove.

EARL
Ow! God damn! Is this a job for intelligent men?!

VAL
If there was one nearby I'd probably ask him.

EARL
I keep thinking, if we were but half serious about money, we should
quit being hired hands and...

VAL
Handymen, Earl. We're handymen.

EARL
Whatever the hell we are, we should quit and go get ourselves some real
employment.

Val gestures to the vastness around them.

VAL
What, and give up all this personal freedom?

Val guides the truck down a tortuous, rocky, almost impas-
sable trail. It takes full concentration as he fights the
steering wheel, shifts, rides the brake and leans out trying
to pick a decent route. Earl braces his feet on the dash and
munches breakfast, a raw hot dog right out of the package.

VAL
Goddamn jeep trail gets worse every year.

EARL
Has a lot of rain.

Earl pulls a box of Hershey bars from under the seat. There's
only one bar left. He sets the box down between them. Val
glances at it -- and raises his fist: The Challenge. One,
two, three. Val mimes "paper;" Earl mimes "rock." Earl
loses. Val takes the bar.

EARL
You're gonna get us hung up.

VAL
Do not talk to the driver.

THWONK! The truck lurches to a stop, its frame caught on a
big rock. Val glares at Earl.
The pick-up turns from a dirt road onto an old paved road.

VAL
What do we have next?

Earl consults a crumpled list pulled from inside his hat.

EARL
Uh...Digging that waterhole for Nestor.

VAL
Burt and Heather's place is closer. Let's do their kitchen today. Do
Nestor tomorrow.

EARL
Nestor's out of town tomorrow. We don't dig today. We don't get paid
today. Damn it, Valentine, you never plan ahead. You never take
the long view. Hell, here it is Monday and I'm already working on
Wednesday. It is Monday, right?

But Val is peering at the desert up ahead. Off the road a
ways is a small Toyota pick-up truck and, beside it, a lone
figure trying to flag them down.

VAL
Who the hell's that? That's not what's his name...the grad student?

EARL
Nah, it's September. Must be the new one.

VAL
The new one! That's supposed to be a girl!

Earl braces himself, knowing what Val will do. Val swerves
the truck wildly off the road, barreling across the desert.

VAL
You will have long blonde hair, big green eyes, nice full breasts that
stand up and say hello, ass that won't quit. And legs, legs that go
all the way up!

Earl shakes his head, mildly bemused as they slide to a stop
in a cloud of dust.

Val looks out hopefully. The dust clears. He sees her --
RHONDA LeBECK, (25). Val's eyes do an expert vertical scan:
short brown hair, small brown eyes, so-so chest, legs hidden
in baggy dungarees.

Laden with a portable computer, notebooks, and some
seismograph printouts, she stares at him through tilted
glasses. Her little pick-up truck is loaded with geology
field equipment. She shakes Val's hand firmly.

RHONDA
Hi, I'm Rhonda. Rhonda LeBeck. I'm up here for the semester...

VAL
Yeah, geography.

RHONDA
Right, geology. And you have to be Val and Earl. I've heard all about
you.

EARL
We deny everything.

Rhonda smiles.

RHONDA
Listen, got a question for you. D you know if anybody is doing any
blasting or drilling or anything like that?

VAL
Around here? Why would they?

RHONDA
Well, I'm supposed monitor these seismographs. You know, they
measure vibrations...

VAL
Yeah, vibrations in the ground.

RHONDA
Yeah, well, I'm getting what I refer to scientifically as "weird
vibes." every sensor I've got is giving me strange readings. I
mean, the school has had these machines up here three years and
they've never recorded anything like this.

EARL
Well, we'll ask around. Let you know if we hear of anything.

RHONDA
Thanks. God, I hope they're not screwed up. I might have to bag
the whole semester. Anyway, sorry to bother you.

EARL
No problem. Nice meeting you. Hope you get it sorted out.

Rhonda unhappily turns back to her equipment as Val and Earl
drive off.


Earl glances over at Val with a gleam in his eye.

EARL
You know, if you wanted, we could take a look at those seismographs
for her.

VAL
What the hell do we know about seismographs?

EARL
Nothing. But it sure might be a nice way of getting to know her.

VAL
Why?

EARL
Goddamnit, Valentine, you won't go for any gal unless she fits that
damn list of yours A to Z...

VAL
Well, sure.

EARL
...And is dumber than my hind end. Like that Bobby Lynn Dexter...

Val flips down the truck's sunvisor. Tapes to it are snap-
shots of nearly identical blonde bimbos. Val points to one.


VAL
Tammy Lynn Baxter.

EARL
Don't matter. They're all the same: dead weight. Can't make a
decision, can't walk because of their shoes, can't work because of
their fingernails. Make my skin crawl!

VAL
Well, I'm a victim of circumstance.

EARL
I thought you called it your pecker. Look, don't make the
mistake I made. Twenty years of looking for a woman exactly like
Miss October 1968, and where'd it get me? Here with you.

Val rolls his eyes -- "Give me a break."

The pick-up rattles toward a tiny, utterly isolated high
desert hamlet -- a few dozen houses and mobile homes fighting
for shade in the vast landscape. Its most prominent feature
is an aging wood-frame water tower, perhaps 25 feet high,
near the center of town. A sign PANS into view --
"PERFECTION -- Pop. 14."

Val and Earl head past the water tower for Pham Van's General
Store, Perfection's main gossip stop and only business. The
store's sign, in English and Vietnamese, reads: "Groceries,
Haircuts, Post Office, Town Hall, VIDEOS!" Val and Earl park
next to a camouflage-painted, large-tired Blazer.

Just then they spot MELVIN, the town's surly teen-aged pain-
in-the-ass, coming toward them, mindlessly bouncing a
basketball off the hoods of parked cars. As he nears their
truck:

EARL
Melvin, touch that truck and die.

MELVIN
Oh, man, I'm really shaking.

But he steers clear of their truck.

Inside, the energetic Vietnamese owner, PHAM VAN, presides
over his all-purpose establishment: part general store, part
barber shop, part saloon.

At the bar are BURT GUMMER and his wife HEATHER, two no-
nonsense survivalists who have settled in Perfection to await
the coming apocalypse -- a nice enough couple, but there's a
hint of paranoia around the edges. Burt is shoving a box of
cartridges across to Pham.

BURT
No, Pham, they're not hollow points. I ordered hollow points
and that's what I want.

When Val and Earl enter, Pham automatically pops the tops on
two cold beers and has them in place before the cowboys reach
the bar. Everyone exchanged nods.

HEATHER
Hi, guys, what you been up to?

VAL
Ran into the new college student, Rona.

EARL
Rhonda. Rhonda LeBeck. She's getting some kind of strange
readings on her things.

BURT
Damn, you know, those kids turn up oil or uranium or something out
there...next thing the Feds will be at our door. "Sorry, time to move.
Eminent domain."

HEATHER
Down, honey, down.

VAL
Yeah, Burt. The way you worry, you're gonna have a heart attack
before you get to survive World War III.

Heather and Pham laugh. Burt smiles patiently. Just then
the compressor in Pham's ice cream freezer comes on. It's a
loud chug-chug-chug sound mixed with a high-pitched squeal.

PHAM VAN
Hey Val, listen. Bearing going out, you think?

VAL
Could be.

He starts toward the compressor, but Earl heads him off.

EARL
Catch it later, Pham. Gotta get over to Nestor's.

VAL
Right. We plan ahead. That way we don't do anything right now. Earl
explained it to me.

As they turn to go, Val does a take, amazed, as he spots a
decorative bleached-out cattle skull displayed on the counter
-- with a $29.95 price tag.

VAL
Hey, Pham Van, what the hell is this?

BURT
A beauty, isn't it? We bought three of them for the rec room.

VAL
We sell 'em to you for three bucks a piece!

PHAM VAN
And I appreciate it.

VAL
You don't get it, Pham. The idea was: we were ripping you off.

Suddenly a car alarm blares from outside. Burt's out the
door in a flash. The others follow.

Burt races out and shouts at Melvin who back guiltily away
from Burt's camouflage Blazer.

BURT
Melvin, you little pain-in-the-ass!

MELVIN
It wasn't me, man! Your truck's just screwed up, that's all.

Burt angrily switches off the alarm. Val and Earl laugh as
they climb into their truck.

VAL
Why don't his parents ever take him to Vegas with them?

EARL
You gotta ask that?

At one end of town, Earl maneuvers a huge bulldozer with a
scoop-loader blade through a choking cloud of dust, scouring
out a shallow pit to serve as a watering hole. Val sights
down a row of stakes which mark one end of the pit. The job
is done. He signals Earl to cut the engine. Both men have
kerchiefs covering their faces and are totally encrusted with
dust.

Nearby is an old battered truck trailer -- the massive, solid
steel kind used for heavy rock hauling. Tires flat, mired in
dried mud and weeds, it hasn't been used in years. Now it
provides welcome shade as the men sit sipping some coffee.

NESTOR CUNNINGHAM drives up, surveying the pit with approval.

NESTOR
It came out great, boys. Should fill up just fine come the next
rain. Lemme have your bill.

Earl and Val start fishing in their pockets for pen and
paper. Earl comes up with various pieces of paper, Val with
three or four pens. It's a moment before they realize each
has the other needed implement. Earl writes out the bill
during:

NESTOR
I'll have to send it to you the first of the month, boys.

Val and Earl exchange pained looks.

NESTOR
Now, you know I'm good for it.

VAL
Yeah, Nestor, we know. Don't worry about it. Catch us when you can.

They amble over to their truck. Earl takes the driver's side
-- and starts fishing in his pockets for the key.

VAL
Are we too easy-going?

EARL
No, we're not too easy-going. This area is economically depressed.

Val realizes he has the key and hands it over.

VAL
So what if we just did it...today. Pack up. Drive straight down to
Bixby. Get serious.

EARL
We could. We could. But we'd have to get really serious. It's gonna
cost twice as much to rent a place.

VAL
So? That car wash pays good, and they're always looking.

EARL
Car wash?! That's got no future. If we're gonna take the plunge we
oughta have a better plan than that.

VAL
Yeah, sure. Go ahead and plan
it...for a year or two.

PHAM VAN'S U-RENT -- CESSPOOL, SEPTIC TANKS. PULL OUT to see Val and Earl have rented a
portable septic pump (perhaps trailer mounted). The aged
machine reeks of and drips with its ignoble cargo. The
intake hose has been repaired so often it looks to be more
tape than hose. Grimacing Val threads the slimy hose down
through the open top of Viola's cesspool.

Beside them is Viola's well-kept mobile home on a low hill
not far from Pham Van's store. Well-kept flower gardens
surround the place. VIOLA, a sweet little old lady, watches
the men work while straining to hold the leash of her tiny
but ferocious dog. The dog yaps continuously, lunging at
Val and Earl.

VIOLA
Stop it! Stop it, you horrid animal! I'm going to give her back to my son. I swear it.

VAL
Hey, Viola, you've got my permission.

EARL
God almighty, my mama sure didn't raise me for this.

Val gets up and starts the pump's gas engine.

VAL
Well, you're the one won't work in the car wash. You're the one's
gotta have a plan.

EARL
Damn it, Val! Not having a plan is what keeps us doing jobs like this!

Earl angrily throws the pump valve and starts the pump
mechanism. He and Val on stand either side of the intake
hose as it gurgles happily.

VAL
What keeps us doing jobs like this is you dragging your feet. I was
up for going to Bixby. I was getting excited.

EARL
In the past year I must've said a hundred times "We gotta get out of
Perfection. We gotta better ourselves." You gonna stand there
in broad daylight and tell me you think I'm the reason we're still
here? You want to know how close I am to going to Bixby right now?

VAL
I'll call that little bluff. How close?

POW! GOOOOSH! The gurgling intake hose ruptures, showering
them with -- well you know. They react as if they'd been
shot; gagging, staggering, screaming obscenities.

Val and Earl's beat-up mobile home is just down the street
from Pham Van's store. Val and Earl, now in cleaner clothes,
march out resolutely. Val has a portable TV in one hand and
a framed COORS beer sign in the other. Earl unhooks the
clothes line and dumps it, clothes and all, into the back of
their truck, on top of the rest of their belongings.

They stare at each other for a moment. This is it. No going
back. They leap into the truck. As they drive off, Val leans
out and yanks their wooden nameplate ("E. Basset -- V. McKee")
off the mailbox.

They haven't gone fifty yards when they spot NANCY STERNGOOD
(40s) working in front of her house. The guys pull their
hats low over their faces. Earl swerves to the far side of
the street.

EARL
Uh oh, it's Nancy. She wants another load of firewood.

VAL
Forget it, man. It's not worth it.

Nancy spots them and beckons excitedly.

EARL
She's got us. Now, listen, the plan is: we have done our last job
in Perfection.

VAL
That's the plan.

They stop beside Nancy. While they talk, Nancy's daughter,
MINDY (9), comes bouncing along on her pogo-stick, listening
to her Walkman and slowly circling the truck.

NANCY
Mindy, honey, don't pogo in the street. Hey, guys, I've got a job
for you...

EARL
Sorry, Nancy. We ain't doing odd jobs anymore. We're headed for
Bixby permanent.

NANCY
Oh, sure....My God, you really are!

VAL
Yep, we're relocating to an area with a greater economic base.
Hey, Mindy, what's the count?

MINDY
Six hundred three, six hundred four, six hundred five...

VAL
Go for it!

NANCY
Gee, guys. I made the big decision. I'm putting in that
satellite dish. I was going to offer you five hundred dollars.

Val and Earl glance at each other -- five hundred dollars!

The truck roars toward the "Leaving Perfection" sign. Val
and Earl are elated, downright giddy.

EARL
We did it! We faced temptation and we did not bend!

VAL
Damn straight! Now there's nothing between us and Bixby but nothing!

They zoom past the sign.

VAL
Last time we'll see that sign!

They laugh, then are thrown half out of their seats as Earl
accidentally hits a big pothole.

EARL
Last time we hit that goddamn pothole!

As the truck streaks across the landscape. Val and Earl
merrily continue their good-byes to whatever is visible.

VAL
So long, cactus!

EARL
Adios, bridge!

On its way down from the high desert, the lonely road now
winds through a twisting, narrow canyon. A county highway
maintenance truck is parked to one side and two road workers,
CARMINE and HOWARD, repair a slide-damaged section of the
road, Carmine breaking up asphalt with a jackhammer. Val and
Earl pull up, hand them each a beer, and speed away, shouting:

VAL
Last time down this damn twisty road!

The pick-up speeds past a small shack. Val and Earl
automatically roll up their windows. In a moment we see why:
a monster, ferocious dog comes galloping out to chase their
truck. Earl gives the dog the finger.

EARL
Last chance, asshole. Run, run...!

Old Fred latches the gate on his corral filled with sheep.
He looks up as Val and Earl's truck speeds past. Val and Earl
honk their horn and wave happily. Old Fred waves back.

The pick-up zooms along, the road now paralleling a line of
tall high-tension electrical towers.

The guys have calmed down, but each is still dreaming of a
new life.

EARL
Okay, here's the plan. We bust our tails in the car wash six months...
well, maybe nine...and we don't spend a dime, you know? And then
we go for it...down payment on a tow-truck or a back-hoe or
something, right? Start a real business. We can start looking for
something today, tonight!

Val points up ahead -- a man is sitting near the top of a
distant electrical tower.

VAL
Jeez, look at that guy.

EARL
One job I'd never take is working around electricity.

VAL
Especially when it's two hundred feet off the ground.

But as the pass the tower:

VAL
Hey, hold up...That's Edgar Deems!

EARL
You're full of shit.

VAL
He's only got one damn jacket. That's him, I'm telling you.

Earl pulls over. They climb out and peer up at the tower.
Edgar is hard to see through the criss-crossing girders.

EARL
Man, oh, man. He must've really been drunk this time.
Edgar! What the hell you doing? Get on down from there!

Edgar doesn't move. Val and Earl shift about uncomfortably.

VAL
Well, shit, we can't leave him up there.

They stare at each other. Someone's got to climb up. Val
raises his fist in The Challenge. Their fingers fly. Rock
breaks scissors. Val loses.

Valentine unhappily climbs the tall tower while Earl watches
from below.

VAL
Hey, Edgar, don't you move. I'm coming to get you...You damn fool,
you owe me on this one...

Higher and higher Val climbs. He tries not to look down.

He's approaching Edgar from below and behind. As he gets
nearer he begins to notice forboding details: one of Edgar's
shoes is missing, half the trouser led is torn off.. Edgar is
strapped to a girder by his belt, his shotgun gripped in his
hands. A swarm of flies buzzes away.

VAL
What the hell...

He edges around to where he can see Edgar's face -- the
eyes are wide open, staring. He's dead.

Old Fred is now hoeing his garden. He glances up as Val and
Earl's pick-up roars back toward Perfection.

A big station wagon is parked between a small mobile home and
a half-finished house being built by JIM and MEGAN WALLACE,
an out-going, energetic older couple. Lumber, cinder blocks,
and tools are scattered around the yard.

Jim examines Edgar's body in the bed of Val and Earl's pick-
up truck. Val, Earl and Megan talk in subdued tones.

VAL
Real sorry to bother you, Megan, but we figured since Jim's a doctor...

MEGAN
No, it's fine. You did the right thing. When Jim is done we'll call
the Coroner's office in Bixby We'll take care of it.
Poor Edgar.

EARL
Well, I see you got all the wallboard up.

MEGAN
That was easy. You two did the hard part. Sure sorry you're
leaving.

Jim climbs out of the pick-up.

EARL
Was is a heart attack?

JIM
He died of dehydration. Thirst.

VAL
But that doesn't make sense. That takes a couple of days, doesn't it?

JIM
Three or four even.

EARL
You mean he sat up there three or four days? Just sat there till he
died of thirst?

Jim shrugs. Everyone is mystified.

Fred is still hoeing. In the nearby pen his sheep start
acting restless. He eyes them. What's up? We hear a
strange muffled sound. Unseen, behind him, at the far end of
the garden, his scarecrow mysteriously tilts.

Old Fred keeps hoeing. He stops, his foot is caught in the
dirt. Suddenly he is yanked knee-deep into the ground!

Val and Earl's truck, again headed for Bixby, and going way
too fast, zooms past the two workers still repairing the
road. The workers glance up, annoyed.

Val and Earl, sobered and deep in thought, drive past the
shack where the ferocious dog lives. They automatically roll
up their windows during:

EARL
Reckon he hated Perfection more than us? You suppose he wanted to
kill himself?

VAL
If he did, why didn't he use his damn shotgun?

EARL
Maybe he just couldn't pull the trigger...

VAL
Oh sure, he figured it was easier to die of thirst? Come on,
sombody must've chased him up there.

EARL
Oh, you mean somebody who ain't scared of a twelve gauge shotgun.
And then what did they do? Camp out down below and just wait for
him to die?

Val has no answer. It's too weird.

VAL
Well, whatever the hell happened it's just one more goddamn good
reason to haul ass out of this place.

EARL
You got that right.

They are passing the shack. Earl suddenly realizes:

EARL
Hey, where the hell's that asshole dog?

VAL
Probably up a pole starving itself to death.

EARL
Okay, the plan is: pedal to the metal the whole way. We don't stop
till we hit the carwash, not even to pee.

VAL
I'll go with that plan.

CLOSE ON the pick-up's tires skidding to a stop. PULL OUT to
see we're back at Old Fred's.

VAL
What are you doing?

Earl is staring wide-eyed. Val follows Earl's gaze and is
aghast when he sees --

The sheep pen -- it's a ghastly, bloody mess. Scattered on
the churned up ground a few dismembered sheep legs and heads
are all that remain of the flock.

VAL
What the hell...?

Val and Earl leap out of the truck to investigate.

VAL
Hey, Old Fred! Fred! Where are you?!

Earl dashes into Fred's house. Val checks around outside.
Earl comes back out.

EARL
Not here.

Then they spot something lying in the middle of the garden --
Old Fred's hat.

Still looking all around, Val squats distractedly to pick up
the hat. He and Earl stumble backward in shock.

OLD FRED IS STILL WEARING HIS HAT!! His mangled face stares
up at them, eyes and mouth frozen open in a death grimace.

EARL
Oh, Jesus!!

VAL
What the hell is going on? I mean WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!!


Carmine and Howard continue repairing the road, Carmine still
using the noisy jackhammer. Val and Earl drive up.

EARL
You guys better get the hell outta here! We got a killer on the loose!

HOWARD
What?

Carmine stops jackhammering to listen.

EARL
A murderer, man! A real psycho. He's cutting people's heads off!
I'm serious! I'd high-tail for town if I was you!

Val and Earl speed away.

CARMINE
They're drunk.

HOWARD
Yeah...

But he edges over to the truck and takes out a heavy steel
pry-bar to keep within easy reach.

Carmine goes back to work, pounding the asphalt with the
jackhammer. Suddenly the blade strikes something beneath the
road, something soft. We hear a strange, unearthly shriek
from underground. A weird orange goo gushes up around the
blade. Then the jackhammer takes off by itself like a
harpoon stuck in a whale! Carmine gets tangled in the jack-
hammer's air-hose and is dragged along, shouting for help.

Howard chases him down the embankment and into the scrub-
brush. He hears Carmine screaming.

HOWARD
Carmine! What the hell is it?! Where are you?

But now there is only silence. Howard crashes through the
brush. All he finds is the torn end of the air-hose -- which
suddenly sucks down into the ground. He's momentarily
staggered by an awful smell, but forces himself to keep
looking. He lets the pry-bar drag on the ground. Then
something -- it looks like a mouth or a horrid beak -- shoots
out of the ground and grips the pry-bar with uncanny
strength! Howard drops his weapon and scrambles madly away.

He clambers back onto the road. But almost immediately
cracks form in the pavement around him. More beak-things
break through the asphalt between him and his truck.

He dashes across the road, scrambling up the embankment. He
clings precariously to a tree root, looking down -- where'd
they go? Suddenly the dirt around him begins to "bubble."
Several hungry beaks break through and grab him, yanking him
head first into the embankment. Then the embankment gives
way, crashing down onto the road, taking with it a nearby
telephone pole and snapping the lines.

Pham Van is talking to MIGUEL, a local rancher. They both
jump as the doors burst open. Val and Earl race in, trailed
by Nestor and Melvin. Val heads for the payphone during:

NESTOR
His head? You mean just his head?

Val grabs the phone and digs in his pocket for change.

VAL
Yeah, really sick, man. Sweet Old Fred.

Earl comes up with change and hands it to Val, who dials.

PHAM VAN
Something happen to Fred?

MELVIN
Are you serious, man? They killed him just to take his sheep?

EARL
He didn't have nothing else to steal. Neither did Edgar.

MIGUEL
What happened to Edgar?

Val stares at the phone.

VAL
I don't believe this. The phone is out! Pham, your phone is out!

PHAM VAN
I didn't do it! What's going on?

Val and Earl rush out.

Trailed by the others Val and Earl march out and leap into
their truck , Val driving now. He searches for the key.

NESTOR
We've gotta get the police up here. You guys gotta step on it to Bixby.

Earl hands Val the key.

VAL
Consider it stepped on.

Again the pick-up barrels through the canyon.

VAL
Brother, we decided to leave this place just one day too late, you
know?

EARL
Well, there's sure as hell nothing to stop us now. Everybody we know
between here and Bixby is already dead.

Earl points ahead and screams:

EARL
LOOK OUT!!

Val brings the truck to a squealing stop. Ahead: the
collapsed embankment completely blocks the road. It's
totally impassable. The cowboys are dumbfounded.

EARL
Is some higher force at work, here? Are we asking too much of life?

But Val is in no mood for philosophy. He leaps out and peers
into the highway maintenance truck which sits undisturbed,
emergency lights still flashing. There's nobody in it. He
starts looking around.

VAL
Those assholes are supposed to be fixing the goddamn road!
Hey! Where are you guys? People gotta use this road, you know!
You on a booze break or what?!

EARL
Val! Val!

Val looks where he's pointing -- Howard's bloodstained
hardhat lies at the edge of the landslide. Val gets the
point. Looking around for the unknown assailant, he eases
back into the truck. Earl already has a pistol in his lap
and is digging through the glove compartment.

EARL
Where are the bullets? Don't we have any goddamn bullets?

Val quickly jockeys the truck to turn it around on the narrow
road. But as he backs into the hillside, we hear a strange
grating clunk from underneath. When he tries to pull
forward, the truck won't move. The engine stalls.

VAL
Jesus! I don't believe this!

EARL
You're hung up again.

VAL
I am not!

They both lean out. The rear tires are clear. Val restarts
the truck and tries to pull forward, rocking the truck
against some unseen pull. Smoke wells up from the clutch.

EARL
You're hung up I tell you. You're gonna burn the clutch.

Val slams the truck into low-range four-wheel-drive and revs
it. The tires dig in, fighting for traction -- and suddenly
the truck lurches free. We hear an eerie shriek mingled with
gear and engine noise as Val angrily roars away.

EARL
Jesus, you can break an axle like that.

VAL
Fuck you!

EARL
Hey, I don't want spend the night out here!


The word has spread. Everybody in town is gathered at Pham
Van's. They rush out to meet Val and Earl as they drive up.

BURT
What the hell you doing back already?

VAL
You're never going to believe this, but the canyon road...we were on it
not two hours ago...well, it's completely...

But he stops because they're all staring wide-eyed at the
rear of the truck.

NANCY
My God...!

Val and Earl jump out and look where everyone else is
looking. Their jaws drop. REVEAL: hanging from the rear
axle of their truck and trailing out behind like a nightmare
wedding decoration -- a sex foot long, grotesque, fleshy,
tentacle. The end gripping the axle looks like a vicious,
razor-sharp beak or hook. The trailing end is mutilated,
oozing orange goo -- as though the creature was torn in half.

MELVIN
Unreal! Where'd you get it?

VAL
Uh...didn't know we had it...

NANCY
It's disgusting.

VIOLA
Looks like...and eel.

NESTOR
Naw...eels live in water.

VAL
So...it's some kind of snake?

EARL
Or a big mother slug maybe?

BURT
Some kind of mutation...?

Burt, more daring than the others, pries the thing off the
axle with a shovel.

PHAM VAN
Don't touch, don't touch.

BURT
It's dead all right. Tore the damn thing in half.

EARL
It must've grabbed us. That's why the truck stalled-out.

VAL
Yeah! Next time I tell you I'm not hung up...!

BURT
Stalled out your truck? Have to be
one strong son of a bitch.

Pham Van leaps over them.

PHAM VAN
I give you boys five dollars for it.

Val and Earl square their shoulders. This time they're ready
for him.

VAL
Twenty.

PHAM VAN
Okay, ten dollars.

EARL
Fifteen.

PHAM VAN
Okay, fifteen.

VAL
Damn right fifteen.

Burt is deep in thought.

BURT
Just one of these couldn't eat up off a whole flock of sheep.
There's gotta be more out there, a lot more.

A cold chill spreads through the group. They stare out at
the vast, forbidding desert. They suddenly feel alone --
very alone.

CLOSE on Rhonda's hat lying on the ground. We think the
worst. Then she reaches in, picks it up and puts it on.
REVEAL she's in a lonely corner of the valley working with a
seismograph. She pounds a marking stake into the dirt.

The needle responds to each blow on the stake. We hear
Rhonda stop pounding. The needle stops. All is silent --
but the needle starts moving again!"

LOW CAMERA is MOVING in Rhonda's general direction. She
starts to pound another stake. CAMERA REACTS so it is moving
straight toward her. As it passes a burrow, a rabbit
suddenly scouts out. CAMERA WHIP PANS to watch the rabbit
scamper into the distance, then TURNS BACK to move toward
Rhonda, who still pounding her stake.

CAMERA passes Rhonda's seismograph. The machine tilts
slightly as the ground bulges up beneath it.

Rhonda finishes pounding. She heads for her truck, noisily
tossing in her tools and slamming the tailgate. CAMERA
CLOSES IN on her, faster and faster. It is right on her
heels as she climbs into the cab!

A beak-thing thrusts out of the ground, groping where
Rhonda's boot just was. Rhonda drives off, unknowingly
running right over the thing. We hear a shriek of pain as
the tentacle writhes and sucks back under the ground.

Mindy Sterngood poses cautiously with the bizarre hook
tentacle. A camera FLASHES and we REVEAL Pham Van taking
her photo beside a sign: "Photographs -- You and the Snake
Monster -- $2.00." Viola and Miguel, wait in line.

We now see the store is crowded with concerned townsfolk
debating what to do, and how to protect themselves. Val and
Earl sit on the sidelines, sipping beer, gazing in awe at
enterprising Phan Vam:

EARL
Slick as snot and I'm not lying.

VAL
Fifteen lousy bucks.

EARL
A man who plans ahead.

Dominating the discussion are Burt and Heather now armed with
scoped, magnum hunting rifles. Heather stands guard at a
window, peering out into the night.

BURT
...Look, we organize, we arm ourselves. We go out, we find
those damn snake things, we make 'em extinct.

NESTOR
Come on, Burt, we don't even know what they are.

VIOLA
Might be aliens. Who knows?

MIGUEL
Why go looking for trouble?

BURT
Miguel, the trouble's come to us. If we're not ready...

HEATHER
Phone's out. Road's out. We're on our own.

NANCY
And you two just love it, don't you?

HEATHER
Come on, Nancy, don't let's get personal. We need to do something.

Burt steps over to a faded topographic map on the wall and
points out details during:

BURT
Damn right. You folks gotta analyze the situation. With that
road out we're completely cut off. Got the cliffs to the north,
mountains east and west. That's why Heather and me settled here in
the first place, geographic isolation.

NANCY
Well...there must be dome way to get help.

VIOLA
Yes, that's what I say.

BURT
How, for chrissake? You gonna walk thirty-eight miles to Bixby?

MIGUEL
Hey, what about Pham Van's saddle
horses?

All heads turn toward Pham Van.

PHAM VAN
You're welcome to them. Does anybody know how to ride?

All heads turn toward Val and Earl.

In the vast desert night a single floodlight illuminates Jim
and Megan's partially finished house. Their station wagon is
parked out front. A country and western tune drifts to us
from it's radio.

As we MOVE CLOSER, we see the floodlight is powered by a
small, softly purring generator set maybe fifty feet away.

Jim and Megan, both exhausted, unload a big stack of roofing
shingles from their station wagon. Jim starts to lift a
package of shingles but gives up and sits on the tailgate.

JIM
I'm dead. Let's finish in the morning.

MEGAN
We have to go into Bixby in the morning. The concrete blocks are in.

JIM
The con...! Oh my God.

MEGAN
Just keep looking at that beautiful sky.

JIM
What?

MEGAN
That's the sky that's going to be over our roof every night, when
we're done.

JIM
Ah, but consider this, if we don't finish the roof, we can looks at
that sky all the time.

Just then the whirring of the generator becomes strangely
muffled. The floodlight flickers. Now the generator dies.
Darkness engulfs them. The car radio music drones on
incongruously.

JIM
Damn that thing!

MEGAN
We could always buy a new enerator.

Jim digs out a powerful flashlight and heads over toward the
generator. Megan lies back, taking a welcome breather.
After a moment:

MEGAN
Well, what's wrong with it?

JIM
It's...gone...!

Baffled, he sweeps the whole area with the flashlight. Megan
joins him.

MEGAN
You sure this is where it was?

JIM
Am I sure?! It was right there. There's the cord.

The severed electric cable stops at the edge of a cone-shaped
depression in the dirt where the generator sat. He hands her
the flashlight and kneels. We watch tensely as he probes the
loose earth with his hands.

JI
Maybe the ground caved in. There's a lot of old mines and stuff around
here.

Megan grabs his shirt, trying to pull him back.

MEGAN
Well don't then! You don't want to fall in.

Suddenly, about ten feet away -- WHOOMP!! The generator
shoots up out of the ground! Jim and Megan dive for cover as
it sails through the air, and crashes to earth. They stare,
transfixed. The generator is dented and bent almost beyond
recognition -- and covered with oozing slime.

JIM
What the...?

But Megan is all action. She yanks him back.

MEGAN
Come on. Get away from it!

JIM
God, what a stink!

We again hear that mysterious rumbling sound. Jim stops,
sweeping the flashlight around them.

JIM
Hear that?

MEGAN
Never mind! Let's go! Let's just go into town or something! Jim,
please!

She hustles him bodily toward the car during:

JIM
You know, I bet it's geological or something, like natural gas, or a
geyser. They stink like that. Remember in Yellowstone...?

Suddenly he drops knee-deep into ground! Megan is thrown
off balance and tumbles to one side. The flashlight falls,
lighting them at an eerie low angle.

JIM
Something's got me!!

We hear sickening CRUNCHES from below the earth. He SCREAMS
in excruciating agony.

JIM
Oh, God! Get me Out!! GET ME OUT!!

He struggles wildly, but just sinks further down! Megan
slides a 2X4 over to Jim. He grabs it like a drowning man,
trying to keep himself from being pulled down. But he's
pulled with suck power the 2X4 snaps!

His head is going under. Megan desperately tries to dig the
smothering earth away, but she's losing. Now only his arms
are above ground. She pulls with all her might, but he sinks
inexorably down, down. She's pulled flat on the ground.
He's gone.

The next instant, a vicious hook-tentacle erupts through the
earth, missing Megan's face by inches. She scrambles back
frantically.

LOW CAMERA pursues Megan toward the car, just missing her as
she dives in through the open tailgate. She slams it after
her. The talons rake across the car, scratching the glass.

Megan tumbles into the front seat. Thank God the keys are in
the ignition. She starts the engine. But outside the "snake
things" attack the car in a frenzy, slashing blindly. A rear
tire is totally shredded just as:

Megan floors it. The car lurches forward but the mutilated
tire falls apart. The wheel rim digs into the loose earth
and the car is stuck. With no other recourse, Megan locks
the door, rolls up the windows and cowers in the middle of
the car, panting, sobbing. The radio is still playing a
happy cowboy tune. She peeks out. They gave up? She's
safe? Nothing happens for a moment, then --

The car starts to shake and shudder! Dust wells up around the
windows.

Outside we see a bizarre sight. The earth around the rear of
the car is "boiling," dirt flying in all directions -- and
the car starts to sink into the ground!!

Megan wildly honks the horn! The car looks just like a ship
going down by the stern, hood tilting up gracefully. The
back windows shatter, dirt pouring in! Megan smashes the
windshield with a small fire extinguisher and scrambles out
on the hood. But there's no hope. The car keeps sinking,
titling now almost ninety degrees, forcing her onto a
precarious perch on the grille -- sinking, sinking.

Out of her mind with terror, she keeps softly murmuring the
same hopeless phrases:

MEGAN
Stop it! Stop it! Somebody stop it...!

The headlights are two ironic beacons sending their beams
skyward through the roiling dust into the night sky. The
sound of the radio becomes muffled. The headlights sink from
view -- and then Megan's scream floats across the desert.

Out front of Pham Van's, nervous Val and Earl saddle up the
horses while Pham loads their saddle bags with food. Every-
one has gathered to see them off. There's an air of tension.

VAL
Pham, we don't want to be stuck on a couple of canners. They better
be fast.

EARL
Relax. A snake thing like that couldn't move too quick.

VAL
Screw you. For all you know they could fly.

Earl pulls their old Smith and Wesson revolver and battered
Winchester rifle out of the pick-up truck.

EARL
You want the rifle or the Smith?

VAL
The rifle.

So does Earl. He raises his hand. They swiftly do a round
of scissors-rock-paper. Earl loses. He hands Val the rifle.
Just then, Burt and Heather pull up in their Blazer, climbing
out with their hunting rifles.

BURT
You guys all set?

EARL
Ready as we'll ever be.

BURT
Heather and I are going to drive around a little, see if we can find
that college girl and tell her to get her ass back into town.

VAL
Good idea. And we'll swing by the doctor's place. They were going to
go into Bixby but we don't know if they left before the road was out.

Val and Earl mount up.

HEATHER
Hold on. You guys oughta take something that packs more punch
than that thirty-thirty. Take one of our Browning autos, or even my
model seventy... It's three-seventy-five H and H mag.

Earl takes the awesome-looking gun with a smug glance at Val.

EARL
Gee...thanks, Heather. Hope we don't need it.

Heather unhooks a box of cartridges from her belt and hands
it to Earl. Suddenly there's a blood-curdling SCREAM! The
door to Pham Van's flies open. Out staggers Melvin, wrapped
in Pham Van's hook-tentacle, writhing in apparent agony.

MELVIN
IT'S GOT ME! IT's GOT ME! AAAAHGH!

People scatter like sheep. Burt and Heather have guns
trained on him in an instant. Then everyone realizes it's a
sick joke. Melvin collapses with laughter. Burt is livid.
He almost shot Melvin. He charges over and yanks the kid to
his feet, screaming:

BURT
You stupid punk! You came that close, that close!!

EARL
One of these days, Melvin, somebody's gonna kick your ass.

Pham rushes over and grabs his precious tentacle. As people
calm down, Val and Earl gaze nervously at the vast desert
before them.

BURT
Well...you fellas watch yourselves.

NANCY
Come back with the Sheriff.

NESTOR
Sheriff, like hell. Come back with the National Guard.

They ride out to an adlib chorus: "Keep your heads down;"
"Go careful, boys;" "Keep a sharp lookout;" etc.

Val and Earl ride along, very tiny in the vast, lonely
landscape, and very on edge. Constantly looking all around.

EARL
You know, we can't possibly make Bixby by nightfall.

Val doesn't want to hear it.

EARL
That means we're gonna be out here, like, in the dark.

VAL
Great. Thank you.

Faint Country and Western radio music drifts to them.
They're nearing Jim and Megan's house.

Val knocks on the door to the mobile home.

VAL
Hey, doctor, anybody here?

No answer. He opens the door and peers inside. Behind him
Earl steps out of the half-finished house and shrugs. Nobody
around. Wind rustles the plastic sheeting over the windows.
Strangely they can still hear the muffled radio clearly.

VAL
Oh, man, I hate this shit.

They walk briskly to their horses. Earl snatches Heather's
rifle from its saddle scabbard. Val pulls out the
Winchester. Earl tries to reassure himself.

EARL
Car's gone. We just missed them, that's all.

VAL
Then where's the goddamn Conway Twitty coming from?

They focus on the sound and walk gingerly toward it, keeping
constant watch in every direction. The ground here is all
torn up like the sheep pen -- and the music is coming from
underneath! What the hell is going on?

Val scrapes at the dirt with his boot -- and finds the
headlight of Jim and Megan's station wagon, still on, glaring
up at him. He drops down and wildly sweeps away more dirt,
revealing more of the car's grille and hood -- and blood -
soaked dirt which sticks to his hand. He leaps away,
frantically rubbing the blood off on his pants.

VAL
Oh, man...oh, man...

Val and Earl are riding at full gallop. They race alongside
a concrete-lined flood-control ditch and veer off to follow a
barbed wire fence which crosses the ditch.

They ride along the fence during:

EARL
Here's the plan...We don't even stop. Ride like hell. Tonight we
keep right on going. We'll walk the horses.

VAL
That is the plan...I mean, goddamn it! What the hell are those
things? How could they bury an entire Plymouth station wagon?

EARL
Why would they do it?

Suddenly the horses stop short. In a frenzy they wheel
around, rear up, refusing to go on. The cowboys fight to
control them.

VAL
I knew it! Pham Van wouldn't know a decent horse if...!

But Earl's already drawing his rifle.

EARL
Shut up! They got wind of something they don't like!

VAL
Oh shit!

He draws his rifle. They look wildly in all directions at
once -- but there's nothing, only empty desert.

VAL
But I don't see anything!

They keep staring. The horses keep pacing nervously. Then
-- Earl's horse rears wildly and falls! Earl goes flying.
Val wheels around wildly, dismounts and runs to Earl, who's
bruised and winded but basically unhurt. They think Earl's
horse just tripped.

VAL
Hey, you okay? You okay?

EARL
Yeah...yeah. What about the hor...?

Their eyes bulge. Several "snake things" have engulfed the
horse's head, sucking, crushing, slurping. Val's horse goes
berserk and gallops for the horizon.

EARL
What in the name...?

VAL
That's how they get you! They're under the goddamn ground!

Suddenly they realize what that means -- the thing could
come up under them!! The cowboys scramble frantically away.
But nothing pursues them. They pause, glancing back
nervously.

EARL
What the hell are they?

VAL
Sons of bitches!

Val raises his rifle and takes a well-aimed shot, hitting one
of them. Orange goo spurts out. We hear a deafening shriek
as all the "snake things" instantly zip back underground.

Then -- A HUGE MOUND OF EARTH RISES UP UNDER VAL AND EARL!!
The cowboys tumble down its side, Val losing his rifle. They
roll over and stare dumbfounded at the mound.

VAL
There must be a million of them!!

The mound of earth turns toward them. The ground splits open
and out rises -- a huge head!

EARL
Nope...just one.

The monster is a horrendous thirty-foot long eating machine!
Its head is eyeless, utterly alien, covered with tough boney
plates which close together to form a cork-screw point.

The cowboys stumble back toward the fence in speechless
terror. The creature slides toward them, pushing through the
earth like a whale through water. Now it opens its mouth --
but it's like a grotesque flower, boney plates spreading open
like petals, revealing a huge, slimy, fleshy, oozing orifice!
And inside the mouth, a ghastly multi-tentacled tongue!
These are the "snake things," not snakes at all but actually
the horrid hook-tentacles that can shoot out six feet to snag
their prey!

The monster snorts and snuffs, throwing up plumes of dust,
sounding like a horrendous pig. It sinks into the earth and
charges! We see the hump of earth move toward them faster
and faster but then it disappears as the creature goes deeper.

Val and Earl leap sideways and run along the fence. The
creature goes straight and slams into a fencepost from below.
All we see is the fencepost knocked at a crazy angle.

The cowboys keep running. The creature regroups and charges
after them, hitting each fencepost in turn, sending weird
sinuous shock waves along the barbed wire, making almost
musical twanging sounds. Val looks back.

VAL
It's gaining on us!!

And as if that weren't enough, Earl points to more trouble
ahead.

The fence runs straight to the edge of the ditch, an eight
foot wide gap yawning dead ahead. The creature churns like
a locomotive from behind. They'll have to try to jump! They
strain desperately for every last fraction of speed.

EARL
We can do it, we can do it!

They leap and -- they don't do it!! They smack into the
opposite side of the ditch, clawing frantically at the lip,
only to tumble to its sloping bottom. A split second later
the charging creature slams like a wrecking ball into the
foot-thick concrete wall! The wall CRACKS AND BULGES OUT! A
hook-tentacle flops out through one of the cracks! Terrified
Val and Earl scramble away. But the wall holds together.

And the, strangely, all is quiet. The tentacle lays dead
still. Eventually, the cowering cowboys dare to creep back a
little closer, still panting, exhausted, jumpy.

EARL
Stupid son of a bitch...knocked itself cold.

And now orange slime begins to ooze through the cracks in the
concrete.

VAL
Cold, my ass! It's dead! We killed the bastard!

He suddenly shakes his fist at the dead beast.

VAL
You FUCKER!!

They allow themselves a small wheeze of nervous laughter,
only to jump like rabbits as some pebbles rattle loudly down
the concrete wall behind them. They whirl to see Rhonda, up
on the opposite side of the ditch, staring down at them.
She's lugging a bunch of her equipment, including a small
folding shovel.

RHONDA
Hi, guys, how're you doing? Look, can I ask you something? Did you
just notice something weird? Vibrations? You know, some kind of
earth tremor?

Val and Earl look at each other, then burst out laughing.
Rhonda spots the cracked wall.

RHONDA
What's that?

The shattered concrete has been pulled away to fully reveal
the creature's horrendous head. Start CLOSE on it: oozing
blood, slavering mouth plates hanging open, hook-tentacles
lolling out. WIDEN to see Earl and Rhonda, sweating, dusty
and tired, staring in awe and cringing at the stench.

EARL
Jesus Christ...think it smells like that 'cause it's dead?

RHONDA
I don't see any eyes...must be totally subterranean...and those
tentacles...

EARL
I think they shoot right outta its mouth, hook you, and pull you right
in. Good thing we stopped it before it killed anybody else.

RHONDA
Yeah, I'm lucky it didn't find me. This is important, you know. This
is like, well, let's say it, it's probably the biggest zoological
discovery of the century. The century? Forget it. History.

We can hear a shovel digging up above, and now Val shouts:

VAL
I got it! Here's the other end! Just look at what we caught here!

Earl and Rhonda climb up. CRANE UP with them to REVEAL the
whole animal! Val, digging excitedly with Rhonda's shovel,
is just scraping away the last loose dirt from the creature's
tail. The whole length of the immense thirty foot beast is
partially uncovered, in king-sized bas-relief.

EARL
This is one big mother!

VAL
So this is the guy that had your seismos working overtime?

She nods, stepping down to study the creature. The body is
stream-lined, cigar-shaped, maybe eight feet in diameter at
its thickest. It's covered with hundreds of short, rear-
pointing, retractable spikes. Rhonda gingerly jiggles one.
It can be pushed in and out of its socket like a plunger.

RHONDA
It must push itself along with these. Hundreds of them pushing at
once. That's how it can move so fast. I mean this thing was
tripping sensors all over the valley. No wonder I couldn't...

A chilling thought stops her in mid-sentence. She springs
down into the drainage ditch to get her backpack, pulling out
her seismograph printouts. She studies them frantically
during:

EARL
Hey, Rhonda, you ever heard of anything like this before?

VAL
Sure, Earl, everybody knows about them. We just didn't tell you.
Come on, nobody's ever seen one of these! We're really in on
something here!

The guys looks at each other. One thought immediately springs
to their minds.

EARL
Pham Van don't get his mitts on this for no measly fifteen bucks!

VAL
You got that right!

While they bask in their fame-to-be, Rhonda continues to
study the print-outs, coming to a terrifying conclusion.

EARL
Here's the plan: we'll get a...a flatbed, I guess, with a big winch,
figure a five ton anyway.

VAL
Naw, don't want to winch it. That'd tear it all up. Want to lift it.
Some kind of crane with lifting straps.

But Rhonda interrupts -- now really scared.

RHONDA
Hey, hey, shut up! The way I figure it. There are five more of
these things!

Val and Earl shut right up. Earl edges up a fencepost. Val
sidles up onto a rock during:

EARL
Five more?

Rhonda paws through her unwieldy printouts, pointing out
jagged ink lines on the graphs, comparing different ones.

RHONDA
Yeah, darn it, look. I've got seismographs all over the valley.
If you compare the different readings, there have to be five.
Here's one at two o'clock yesterday, but here's another one
three miles away at the same time. So that's two. Now, here...

The men leap from their perches and hustle her in the
direction she came from.

VAL
We'll take your word for it.

EARL
Yeah. Where's your truck?

RHONDA
The other side of that dome.

She indicates what to most of us would be a hill, dotted with
huge boulders thrusting out of the sandy desert soil like big
mushrooms. The trio jogs toward the hill.

En route to the truck, they pass near one of Rhonda's
seismographs. Suddenly Earl stumbles as one leg drops knee-
deep into the ground! He screams. Val wheels and bodily
yanks him up. They back away from the small hole in the
ground, calming a little as they realize:

EARL
Prairie dog burrow...

VAL
Little sons of bitches.

Rhonda tenses as she hears a sound she knows well -- the soft
scratching of the seismograph needle across its paper
cylinder. She whacks Val on the shoulder and points
speechlessly at it.
The needle is going wild!!
She doesn't have to explain. All three of them dash dash for:

The remains of an old rail fence lay beside one of the
boulders. Val, Earl, and Rhonda scramble over the wood, up
onto the rock and stand there tensely.

In a moment, the creature gently rustles the earth at the
base of the rock. The monster's slimy hook-tentacles slither
out, searching the rock base. Shuddering, the humans move as
high as they can, well out of reach. The tentacles slip back
beneath the earth. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief.

EARL
Well, at least the bastard can't climb. Pardon my French.

RHONDA
Probably couldn't move too easily on the surface.

VAL
God, the live ones smell worse tan the dead ones.

EARL
Okay, now, how far's your truck?

Rhonda points. They can see the roof of her truck, maybe a
hundred yards away through the boulders. Val and Earl think
about it.

VAL
I don't know. If this one's any faster than that other one...

EARL
I think we wait right here.

It's hours later. Stiff and uncomfortable, they have nothing
to do but theorize.

RHONDA
There's nothing like them in the fossil record, I'm sure...Okay, so
they predate the fossil record... That'd make them a couple of
billion years old...and we've just never seen one till now. Right.

EARL
I'd vote for outer space. No way those are local boys.

VAL
Atomic testing. Or, no, bio- engineering! The government built
them, a big surprise in the next war.

There's a long pause. Earl stares at the dirt around the rock.

EARL
Well...haven't seen a sign for hours. Maybe it's long gone.

VAL
Maybe it is. Why don't you take a little stroll and see?

EARL
Fuck you, too. Pardon my French.

RHONDA
Well, we've got to do something.

Val gets an idea. He grabs a post from the dilapidated fence
and cautiously slips down near the boulder's edge.

EARL
Watch yourself! It's got a good six foot reach.

Val nods. Dead silence as he reaches way out with the post
and scrapes it on the ground. Almost instantly the creature
roars up, grabbing the post in a flurry of flying dirt and
lashing tentacles, nearly hooking Val's hand. Val
practically falls over himself scrambling back to safety.

VAL
Son of a bitch!

EARL
Son of a goddamned bitch! Been waiting there all this time. How
the hell's it even know we're still here?

VAL
It's been listening to us. It's got no eyes. It sure as hell can't
smell anything underground, so I figure...

Rhonda stares at Val, impressed.

RHONDA
Of course! It can sense the slightest seismic vibration...hear
every move we make. Especially on this rock. It's a perfect
conductor.

They all settle back, having no idea what to do next. Rhonda
gazes out at the desert that surrounds them like an ocean.

RHONDA
I always wanted to be stuck on a desert island. But somehow I
always imagined, you know, water.


Our heroes are silhouetted against a huge, spectacular,
desert night sky. After a very long pause:

EARL
You know, I hate to be crude, but I'm gonna have to take care of some
business here.

VAL
Me, too.

RHONDA
Same here.

The silhouettes shift, Val and Earl moving down one side of
the rock, and Rhonda down the other. We can no longer see
them. We just head zippers zipping down -- then soft sighs
of relief from Val and Earl. Then:

RHONDA
Darn it!

VAL
You okay?

RHONDA
Yeah. But I'll tell you, if you ever wanted proof God is a man,
this is it.

Rich orange sunlight creeps silently across the deathly still
desert. Earl is already awake. Val is curled up without his
jacket, shivering. He wakes with a start. Where the hell's
his jacket?

Rhonda wakes slowly. She's surprised to find herself wrapped
in Val's jacket. Touched by his chivalry, she embarrassedly
hands it to baffled Val.

RHONDA
Thanks.

Val glances at Earl, who looks away. Who, me?

VAL
No problem. Anytime.

Earl gropes through his pockets, coming up with only
cigarettes. Val fishes in his own pockets, finding only
their lighter. They exchange items and light up during:

EARL
Well, folks, what's the plan?

VAL
First let's see if Stumpy's still out there.

This time he tosses a piece of wood out onto the sand. With
soft rustling, a bulge forms in the earth, moves over to the
wood, then subsides. Rhonda starts looking around during:

EARL
Don't he have a home to go to?

VAL
Well, that's why Edgar never got down off that tower.

RHONDA
I might have an idea...

EARL
We're gonna have to come up with some kind of plan or it's just
gonna wait us to death.

RHONDA
Well, I was wondering if we could...

VAL
Well, let's just run for it. We outran that one yesterday, at least
on a sprint.

Rhonda gives up on them. She goes over and pulls a long
cross rail from the fence during:

EARL
Run for it? Running's not a plan. Running is what you do when the
plan fails. You're not even trying to come up with a plan!

VAL
Well, it's not like we've got a hell of a lot of options...

RHONDA
You guys know how to pole vault?
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tanith
post Feb 6 2011, 02:43 PM
Post #2


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They watch in surprise as she hefts her pole, checks the
balance, eyeballs the distance to the nearest boulder. Then
she charges between them, plants her pole and vaults smoothly
over to the next boulder, maybe fifteen feet away. The
creature surfaces where her pole touched down, but too late
-- a hook tentacle vainly sweeps the area, the disappears
into the ground. Val and Earl glance at each other,
impressed.

RHONDA
We just stay where it can't get us...on these residual boulders.
My truck's parked right next to one.

Earl rushes to grab a couple more fence rails.

EARL
Stay on those residual boulders!

Val just stands staring across at Rhonda -- his horizons are
broadening. Earl stuffs a fence rail into his hands.

EARL
Tammy Lynn Baxter, she do a lot of pole-vaulting?

Earl takes a deep breath and goes for it, vaulting across to
Rhonda. Val follows.

Through the shimmering heat in the distance we see the
strange sight of the three figures vaulting from boulder to
boulder.

Val, Earl and Rhonda pole-vault their way toward the truck.
Finally they're at the nearest boulder, but the truck is
still ten feet away.

VAL
Think it's still following us?

RHONDA
Let's assume that it is.

EARL
And once we hit that truck we gotta go fast. I say we all jump together.

Rhonda and Val nod. Rhonda grips her car keys in her teeth.

RHONDA
Ready?

VAL
Yeah. One, two, three...

They all vault in unison, landing in the truck bed. Rhonda
scrambles up, slides open the cab's rear window, and begins
wriggling through headfirst.

EARL
Come on, girl, it ain't gonna give us much time...

Dust explodes around the rear of the truck! Hook-tentacles
snake up on all sides, narrowly missing Val. He and Earl
grab whatever's handy, pounding at the tentacles with
expensive instruments.

VAL
GO! GO! GO!

Rhonda's only half way through the cab window, still hanging
headfirst into the cab. She frantically starts the truck,
dives down and punches the accelerator with her fist.

As the truck roars away, one tentacles manages to tear off the
the muffler. The engine thunders like a tank. Val and Earl
sit back, sighing in relief, then react when they see
Rhonda is driving upside down and blind.

Rhonda skids her noisy truck to a halt in front of Pham Van's.

VAL
We better get everybody together.

Val leaps out and jumps into his pick-up truck. He searches
for the key.

EARL
You go north, I'll go south.

VAL
Right.

Val holds out his hand for the key. Earl tosses it to him.
Val drives off. We FOLLOW Rhonda and Earl as they drive the
other way, toward Viola's.

EARL
I'll bet you're sorry the college ever sent you up here.

RHONDA
Well, I'm scared, but I'm not sorry.

EARL
You know, Val went to that college, too. For a whole year. Couldn't
quite sit still for it, though. Had too much vinegar in his system.
But once he settles down, forgets this cowboy stuff, he'll be one in
a million.

Rhonda sees straight through Earl's clumsy attempt at match-
making. She can't help but smile. Earl grins sheepishly.

EARL
All right, I'm about as subtle as a donkey's ass. Pardon my French.
I'm just saying the boy's got potential, that's all.

MOVE IN on Rhonda -- her and Val?

Nestor, Viola, Nancy, and Miguel nervously crowd around Val,
Earl, and Rhonda. Viola holds her yappy dog which perio-
dically snarls and snaps at people. Pham Van is on his CB
radio trying to contact Burt and Heather.

MIGUEL
You serious, Val? You think we're not even safe here in town?

VAL
Ask me that after you meet one. I think we should all get the hell
out while the getting's good.

NESTOR
Why not just take a Number Ten pick axe and give it one good whack...?

VAL
Nestor, damn it, these things are bigger than an Airstream trailer!

NANCY
God, I've got to find Mindy.

Nancy rushes out.

EARL
Hey, Pham, where's Burt and Heather?

PHAM VAN
Can't raise them. I guess they're still out there somewhere.

RHONDA
If you've got a radio, why aren't you calling somebody in Bixby? The
police or...

PHAM VAN
Can't reach outside the valley. You know, because of the mountains.

MIGUEL
Hey, Rhonda, what's the name you call those things, huh?

PHAM VAN
Where'd they come from?

RHONDA
Huh? I don't know.

PHAM VAN
You're a scientist, right?

VIOLA
You should have a theory at least.

RHONDA
Look, these things are absolutely unprecedented!

NESTOR
Yeah, but where'd they come from?

RHONDA
Where'd they come from? Okay, worms, probably in the Jurassic
period. Cosmic radiation was much higher then...so they mutated...and
they got so big they just sank right into the ground and fell
asleep... But now continental drift has brought them to the surface,
ready to be harvested by the ancient alien meat growers who
planted them here.

Everybody stares at her, then they smile, realizing she's
pulling their legs.

EARL
You're right, don't matter where they come from.

VAL
Right. We need to be talking about what we're gonna do.

VIOLA
My goodness, Valentine, once they see the road is out and the phone
lines are down, someone will be along to look in on us. Don't you
think?

We see the utility truck still parked near the landslide
blocking the road. REVEAL, on the far side, a telephone
maintenance truck is now parked, emergency lights flashing --
and nearby, amid phoneworkers' climbing and repair gear, two
more hard hats lying on blood-soaked ground.

The crowd is still jabbering away. Rhonda speak over them:

RHONDA
No no no, they listen! They can sense the slightest vibration
through the ground. That's how they see! That's how they hunt!

MIGUEL
So, like we don't vibrate, right? Maybe they won't even come to here,
huh? Maybe they leave us alone.

Val shakes his head, and marches over to the topographic map
on the wall.

VAL
They caught up with Edgar here. They grabbed Old Fred here. They
nailed the asshole dog here. And the doctor's place is here...

The spots he indicates describe a line leading along the
valley straight toward town.

VAL
This valley's just one long smorgasbord and if we don't haul
ass outta here we're the next course.

We hear an a eerie SHRIEK from outside. Something shoots in
through the window, striking Earl in the chest!! Earl flails
frantically at it -- but it's only Melvin's basketball. We
glimpse Melvin outside, doubled over with laughter. Earl
grabs the ball and hurls it viciously back, but Melvin easily
dodges it.

EARL
You little ass wipe! You knock that off or you're gonna be
shitting that basketball! Pardon my French.

NESTOR
Now, Val, let's assume they're as dangerous as you say. Where are we
going to go that's safer than right here?

VAL
Rhonda's got an idea about that.

RHONDA
Yes, see, they move very easil through the Pleistocene Alluvials...
...the dirt...the loose soil that makes up the valley floor. But
they can't move through solid rock. I think we should travel west to
the mountains.

EARL
You know, up the jeep trail.

RHONDA
The mountains are solid granite. We'd be safe there, and we could
hike along them...all the way to Bixby if we have to.

Nancy rushes back toward Pham Van's, still looking.

NANCY
Mindy! Mindy!

We're CLOSE on Melvin as he circles around the back of Pham
Van's, bouncing his basketball, mischief in his eyes. We can
hear the townsfolk inside.

VIOLA
No, Valentine, I'm not leaving my place.

VAL
Well, it's gonna take us days to get back with help.

EARL
Doggone it, Viola, it's just plain crazy to stay.

Then, to Melvin's astonishment, the steady rhythm of his
bouncing basketball suddenly stops. The ball just goes flup
and doesn't bounce back up to him. He looks down. No ball!
Just swirling dust at his feet.

Everyone jumps as we once more hear an ear-shattering SHRIEK
from Melvin. Earl snarls and heads for the door, Val right
behind them.

EARL
I'm gonna kick his ass!

VAL
I'm gonna help you.

Val and Earl are well ahead of the other townsfolk as they
march around to the side of Pham Van's. But where's Melvin?
Nothing out here but the oppressive, hot desert silence.
Then they hear a soft shuddering whimper -- from above.
There's terrified Melvin, halfway up a telephone pole,
clinging to it desperately.

Val and Earl freeze in their tracks and glance at each
other, realizing instantly what's up. Without a word they
leap desperately in opposite directions. Like a breaching
whale, a creature roars up through the earth right where they
were standing, great mouth gaping open, slimy tentacles
lashing in all directions.

The townsfolk scatter, some heading for their homes,
including Viola and Nestor. Others scramble over each other
as they pile back into Pham Van's. The telephone pole
shudders. Melvin falls and scampers for the nearest hiding
place, a corrugated tin storage shed near Pham Van's.


Val, Earl, Rhonda, Miguel, and Pham Van rush in.

MIGUEL
Jesus Christ! Man, you gut a gun?!

PHAM VAN
Big as a house! What are we gonna do...?!

RHONDA
Quiet! QUIET!!

Miguel and Pham shut up. Then we hear something new -- the
building itself creaking and groaning like a ship. The
liquor bottles behind Pham Van's bar vibrate and clink. The
creature is moving beneath the building. The people freeze
like mannequins. Now we can hear its pig-like snorting.
Pham Van and Miguel react as the awful smell percolates up
through the floorboards. Val signals them to keep quiet.
Finally, the creaking stops.

Rhonda addresses the group in an intense whisper:

RHONDA
Remember...no noise. No vibration.

Everyone stands stock still -- and sweats. But, then, slowly
we become aware of a faint, yet oddly familiar sound.
Squeak, squeak, squeak -- Mindy on her pogo stick! They all
scramble to the windows.

There she is, alone in the vacant street, Walkman blaring in
her ears, merrily bouncing along to a rock 'n' roll beat.

Thoughts of personal safety vanish as the horrified people
lean way out the doors and windows and shout with one voice:

MINDY!
Get off your pogo stick! Get in here, girl! Run, Mindy!


She can't hear them over her Walkman. A tell-tale puff of
dust spurts up not fifty feet from her!

Val sees Mindy has only seconds left! He vaults straight out
the window and charges toward her! Right behind him comes
Earl and Rhonda.

As she rounds a corner at the opposite end of town. She
spots Mindy, then sees Val running. She starts running.

NANCY
Mindy! Mindy!

She's lazily bouncing in circles -- squeak, squeak, squeak.
She goes wide-eyed as she rotates to see Val coming at her
like a mad bull, arms outstretched. The asphalt under her
pogo stick cracks and --

Val tackles her, both of them tumbling head over heels. She
scrambles up, rubbing her skinned elbow and yelling:

MINDY
Oww! Val, you hurt me...!

Val claps his hand over her mouth. She goes wide eyed as she
sees: her pogo stick standing straight up in the cracked
asphalt! Then it is sucked down like so much spaghetti!

Nancy rushes into frame, hugging Mindy. Val signals her to
be quiet. They sit uneasily. Where's the creature?
Suddenly the pogo stick erupts out of the earth right in
their midst!

Val runs one way, Nancy and Mindy the other, heading up the
street toward their house. Val scrambles up onto his pick-up
truck! The creature rams the truck, rupturing a tire. As it
shakes the truck violently, Val spots Rhonda and Earl, now
standing uncertainly halfway between him and Pham Van's.

VAL
Go back, for chrissake!

Rhonda and Earl hesitate.

EARL
We gotta get him off there. It'll suck that truck down!

But Earl now hears something behind them! Down the street,
a little wall of cinder blocks framing Viola's driveway
suddenly topples over.

EARL
Oh, Jesus. Rhonda, another one!

CAMERA charges toward them. Earl swerves toward Pham Van's,
but Rhonda is cut off! She heads toward the next nearest
haven:

The storage shed where Melvin is hiding. It sits in a
vacant, weed-choked lot. Crashing through the weeds, Rhonda
has almost reached the shed when she is suddenly brought up
short and slams face down in a cloud of dust!

She can't get up!! Something's got her! She's caught in an
old rusted barbed wire fence, lying almost flat, hidden in
the weeds. Some strands have come loose and are curled up
like vicious concertina wire.

Barely has she taken this in when -- the ground caves in
under her! She rolls wildly to one side as hook-tentacles
snake up, missing her by inches! She keeps rolling-crawling-
scrambling -- anything to get away from the awful maw -- but
gets her legs hopelessly tangled in the barbed wire. She
freezes. The creature feels around where she was.

She calms herself, pulling gingerly at the wire, working
tensely to free herself but --

The creature's mouth slams shut on the fence. Like a spider
sensing something caught in its web, the monster knows it's
on to something. Its hook-tentacles shoot forward to snare
three feet of fence, then the creature lunges up and out,
swallowing that three feet in a big "gulp" and yanking Rhonda
violently toward it! She screams, pants ripped, legs slashed
and bleeding! GULP! She's dragged even closer.

The truck shakes and shimmies as Val's creature tries to pull
it down. Val sees that Rhonda's in trouble. He searches
frantically for a weapon -- and finds one -- a CHAIN SAW! He
leaps as far from the truck as he can and hits the ground
running, yanking furiously on the saw's starter cord.

Rhonda is in a dead panic, thrashing helplessly in the barbed
wire. The beast takes another gulp of fence, wrenching her
within inches of a probing hook-tentacle! Suddenly we hear a
nasty ROAR as Val's chain saw swings in, slicing the squirm-
ing tentacle in half, spraying gore everywhere! The creature
unleashes an unearthly shriek, and the other tentacles
recoil. The severed one writhes like a beheaded snake.

Val yanks off Rhonda's boots.

VAL
Come on! Outta your pants!

She frantically claws at her belt. But in mere seconds:

RHONDA
LOOK OUT!

Tentacles snake out to regain their grip on the fence. Val
grabs the saw and starts slashing wildly, but this time the
hook-tentacles snag it and wrench it from his grasp. It
slams to the ground, motor dying. The monster readies itself
for the lunge that will suck Rhonda in. Val grabs her under
the arms and pulls. Rhonda wriggles wildly to get out of her
wire enmeshed pants.

The creature lunges! Rhonda pulls free! She and Val tumble
backward. The creature gets only a mouthful of Rhonda's jeans.

The next instant the second creature explodes up through the
ground right next to fallen Val and Rhonda! They roll
sideways, come up running, and sprint for Pham Van's along an
old wooden sidewalk.

Earl flings open the front door. Val and Rhonda race toward
the porch. Right on their heels the creature ripples the
boards like an ocean wave!

EARL
Come on! Come on! Don't look back! Just run! Run like screaming fuck!

They dive through the open door of Pham Van's. The rippling
boards zoom on past it. Earl quickly eases the door shut.

Earl turns to breathless Rhonda.

EARL
Pardon my French.

It's a tense, edgy group. Every movement made is in slow
motion, every word is a whisper. They gaze grimly out the
windows at the silent, deserted, heat-shimmering main street.

Val gingerly dabs iodine onto the cuts on Rhonda's legs.
She doesn't even wince.

VAL
You paying attention? This oughta hurt like hell.

RHONDA
It does.

She smiles at him.

RHONDA
So, is that one of your usual jobs, saving peoples' lives?

VAL
First time for me.

She gazes at him. He looks away. Over at the bar, Pham
holds up a new pair of pants for Rhonda.

RHONDA
Oh, thank you.

Grateful for something to do, Val eases over to get the
pants. Rhonda looks after him. Then she becomes aware of
someone staring at her. It's Earl, giving her a big Cheshire
cat grin that says "What did I tell you?"

Pham hands the pants to Val. Then Pham and Miguel reach
simultaneously for a sods bottle and -- knock it over! It
rolls all the way down the bar as a flurry of desperate hands
try to stop it. No good. It rolls off the end and -- CRASH!

Everyone freezes. Sure enough the building shudders. Floor
boards creak and bend as searching tentacles thump and scrape
along under the floor. People close their eyes, not even
breathing. Finally the noise subsides. Everyone relaxes --
a little.

MIGUEL
So what are we gonna do, you know? How long till they go away?

EARL
They got the patience of Job. They just sit and goddamn wait til they
hear something that sounds like lunch. We need a plan.

PHAM VAN
I've got a plan. You and Val take your truck, get to the mountains.
Hike to Bixby. Get us some help.

VAL
Those scumsuckers are my radials, Pham!

RHONDA
Well, we can take my truck then.

EARL
No good. You need major four- wheel-drive just to get up that
jeep trail.

They all shut up when they hear Viola's dog yapping in the
distance.

Up the hill across from Pham Van's, the old trailer looks
perfectly peaceful. Except Viola's dog keeps yapping. Then
we hear panicked Viola.

VIOLA
Quiet! Quiet you hateful thing...!

EARL
Shut it up! Shut the little bastard up!

VAL
Chuck him out the door! Like a little hors d'oeuvre.

We hear a loud whap! The dog's bark simply changes to
piercing yelps. It would be funny except --

The trailer suddenly bucks upward, hit from below as though
by a pile driver! Again and again the unseen creatures slam
into the frail structure.

VIOLA
Get away! Get away! Oh God in heaven, help me!

The trailer is finally knocked right off its foundation! It
tips over and tumbles all the way down the hill! As the dust
clears, all is silent. A huge hole is torn in the trailer's
floor. Viola's possessions are scattered everywhere.

Everyone stares in shock.

RHONDA
Oh my God.

EARL
Son of a bitchin' lowlife, putrid, scum...

VAL
Gotta do something. Gotta get the bastards!

MIGUEL
Man, what the hell can we do to those things?

EARL
Well, we're sure as hell not going to sit here being quiet for God
knows how long. Are we?

PHAM VAN
Now wait a minute, Earl. I got enough food here to last us for
weeks. Those damn things can't wait around forever.
We can do it. I mean, if we have to, right?

Everyone turns away from the windows, gingerly sitting down,
glumly pondering this possibility. There is a long silence.

Then suddenly -- ROAR! The silence is shattered as Pham
Van's big freezer compressor suddenly comes on.

EARL
Jesus! Shut it off!

Pham runs to the freezer. Its on/off switch is buried behind
stacks of soft-drink cases. He tears at them like a madman,
toppling them this way and that. Earl and Val join him.

But right behind Pham, the floor BUCKLES UP, a monster's
snout BURSTING THROUGH and engulfing one of his legs! The
creature starts to back down into the jagged hole, dragging
screaming Pham with it. Val, Earl, Rhonda, and Miguel grab
Pham's arms but are no match for the monster. It shakes and
spins him like some gigantic dog, effortlessly throwing them
off, relentlessly pulling Pham down.

The hole in the floor is too small for Pham to fit through!
As one leg goes down, the other is bent hideously backward.
Pham screams and screams as jagged wood tears into him, bones
snap, ribs crack. The others grab him again but are utterly
helpless. With vicious, powerful jerks the creature yanks
his man mangled body down. The last thing we see is his foot,
now folded back past his head, and he's gone.

Val is wild with helpless anger.

VAL
Son of a bitch! Son of a bitch!

The floor bulges up in another place! A second creature!
Then a third, coming RIGHT UP UNDER THEM! Earl sprawls onto
the bar. Rhonda springs onto the shelves in the middle of the
store, knocking groceries everywhere. Val and Miguel climb up
shelves which cover the rear wall of the store.

The whole building shakes and shudders, dust powdering down
from the ceiling. Flailing tentacles are everywhere,
slashing open food packages; clouds of flour fill the air!

Val spots a hatch in the ceiling.

VAL
Everybody! This way! The roof!

Earl leaps from the bar to the rear shelves. Val and Miguel
slide sideways till they're beneath the hatch, then use the
shelves as a ladder, climbing up to the hatch. Val pounds on
it frantically.

In the middle of the store, Rhonda leaps from shelf to shelf,
trying to get closer to where Val is. Soon she reaches the
last one, balancing precariously. But a creature tips over
the first one! The shelves topple like dominoes, crashing
toward Rhonda. She is half catapulted, half jumps right
through an open window, ripping through the screen.

Val sees what's happened. With maniacal strength he smashes
open the hatch and climbs out onto --

Val rushes to the edge of the roof shouting:

VAL
Rhonda! Keep moving. Don't stop!

He looks down where Rhonda fell. She's not there. He hears
a whistle and is relieved to see:

Rhonda is perched as high as she can get on the water tower
near Pham Van's. It's maybe twenty-five feet tall, a simple
wood frame holding a big galvanized tank. The wooden legs
stand on big concrete anchors buried in the ground.

Melvin peers terrified out the shed door, up at the guys on
Pham Van's roof.

MELVIN
Hey! What's going on, man?! What the hell you doing up there...?!

MIGUEL
Melvin, shut the hell up!

It's too late. Wham! A creature strikes. The little shed
shudders, dust puffing from every old seam. In a split
second Melvin has climbed to the shed roof.


Nancy and Mindy peer to the window, surprised to see the men
on Pham Van's roof.

We hear Val's shouting to the remaining townsfolk.

VAL
Nancy! Nestor!

VAL
Get up on your roof! On your roof! They can come through the floor!

The store shakes and shimmies. We hear the monster's
thunderous crashing from below.

EARL
Can't you shout a little quieter?

Burt and Heather's place, about a mile from town, is no-
nonsense, functional, ugly -- unpainted concrete walls, no
yard, chain-link fence. Burt and Heather drive up in their
big Blazer and park right beside the house. Hot and tired,
they climb out, each carrying a heavy, scoped hunting rifle.
Burt peers toward Perfection through binoculars during:

HEATHER
I can't believe it. No tracks, no sign, no spoor.

BURT
Yeah, whatever they are, you'd think after they ate all those
sheep they'd have to take a dump someplace...
What the hell's going on in town?

The town is a very strange sight. It's as though an
invisible flood were in progress, driving people to high
ground. We see: Rhonda perched on the water tower; Val, Earl
and Miguel on the store roof; Nancy and Mindy on their roof;
Melvin on the storage shed; Nestor on his roof.


Val, Earl and Miguel gaze out at the town, trying to concoct
a plan. Suddenly Earl perks up. The men speak softly.

EARL
Hey, here's the plan: Nestor's Cadillac. His tires are nine
hundred sixteens. We sprint for it, grab the spare, put it on our
truck with our spare.

Val stares at him, incredulous.

VAL
How the hell long it take you to change a tire?

EARL
Just about too damn long. Bolt pattern's probably wrong anyway.

VAL
We need another plan.

Suddenly, down in the store, Pham Van's CB radio squawks
loudly.

BURT
Yo, P.V., Burt here. Come back.

The building shudders as the creatures again smash through
the floor inside, looking for the source of the noise. Val,
Earl and Miguel scramble to the edge of the roof.

The CB radio sits on a shelf near an open window. Tentacles
are feeling along the wall just below it. Val appears out-
side the window -- upside-down. He snatches the radio and is
hauled straight up out of frame.

BURT
Pham? Anybody copy?

Miguel and Earl haul Val by the feet back up onto the roof.
Val quickly turns down the CB volume.

VAL
Burt, now listen. We found out what's been killing people. Over?

A peculiar cross between bomb shelter and blue-collar den,
Burt's wood-paneled basement has all the comforts for post-
Apocalypse living. Burt talks on his CB.

BURT
Negative copy on that, Pham, check your frequency. I'm on forty-nine.

VAL
Burt, can you hear me now?

BURT
Just barely, Pham. What are you all doing up on your roofs. What
the hell's going on? Come back.

A few feet away Heather works at their ammunition reloading
bench. She dumps a few hundred empty cartridge cases into a
case cleaner and switches it on. It HUMS loudly as it
vibrates.

The groping tentacles swiftly suck back below the floor.
TILT UP to see out the window some distance away, a couple of
old trash cans topple over as the creature streaks past
beneath them, making a bee-line for Burt's.

Miguel points frantically at the trash cans.

MIGUEL
Oh man, they're going, man! I think they're going for Burt!

Val talks a little louder into the mic. INTERCUT as needed.

VAL
Burt! This is Val! Get out of your basement!! Take your radio!
You and Heather get up on your roof! Then we'll talk, okay?!

BURT
Val? What the hell you doing back already?

VAL
Burt, get out! Get up on your roof or someplace! We found out what's
been killing people! They're under mthe ground!

BURT
What's under the ground? We're not getting up on the roof. Earth
shelter's the best. Known that since I was a kid.

VAL
Listen! Listen! We know what they are! They're big things under the
ground! Much bigger than we thought! They're coming after you!
They're coming right now!

Hearing that warning, Burt and Heather go into a well-honed
drill. They grab their hunting rifles and take positions at
basement windows. Burt scans with the binoculars. He sees
nothing. He glances at Heather. She shrugs. Nobody coming.

BURT
We don't see anything, Val. Now what the hell are you talking
about? Over.

Val is frantic. How do you explain these things?

VAL
They're coming underground! They ...they can dig like a son of a
bitch...Big monsters under the ground, Burt! Now get the hell
out! Hurry!

Burt and Heather exchange looks. Has Val gone nuts? Then
they hear a low RUMBLE, growing louder and louder. Tools
hanging over the work bench start to shake; the decorative
cow skulls on the wall rattle; the overhead lights sway --
and then -- everything stops. Dead silence, except for the
humming of the case cleaner.

THEN THE WALL MOVES!! The wood paneling bulges slightly.
Nails pop out. The wall is pushed again; the paneling
cracks. A cow skull falls. Burt and Heather level their
rifles and --

A huge creature pushes right through the wall! Fully half
its bulbous, spiked body writhes into the center of the
room, great multi-part jaws drooling open, hook-tentacles
lashing out.

The three men can hear the chaos over the CB.

BURT
Jesus Chri...!

The CB goes dead. The men stare numbly. Then, drifting
across the desert, a soft popping sound. The men perk up;
they know what it is -- distant gunfire.


The gunfire is DEAFENING as Burt and Heather blast away.
Globby blood spurts from a dozen wounds, and the creature
pulls back a little. The couple keeps firing until magazines
are empty. The creature lunges forward again.

PAN with Burt and Heather to REVEAL a wall of the basement we
haven't seen until now -- a wall covered with guns -- hand
guns, long guns, riot guns, flare guns, antique guns,
military guns, elephant guns.

Heather grabs an HK-91 assault rifle, slams in two magazines,
bottoms taped end to end, and opens fire! A hook-tentacle
snags her boot, yanking her right off her feet. Burt pumps
out eight devastating blasts from a twelve-gauge riot gun,
severing the tentacle. Heather is on her feet in an instant.
She expertly flops her double magazine over, loading the full
one taped upside-down to it, and opens fire again. Burt
grabs an AR-15 semi-auto and joins her. They lay down
massive fire, virtually disappearing in muzzle flash and
smoke. Ejected shell cases clatter and clang all around the
room.

The guns are empty. THE CREATURE IS STILL COMING! They back
down the wall, desperately grabbing weapons one after
another: a lever-action, a magnum handgun, even a flare gun
which Heather fires right into the creature's mouth.
Shrieking in pain, the horrid thing thing KEEPS WRIGGLING
TOWARD THEM!

Burt and Heather scramble up over a desk to keep something
between them and it. Burt smashes open a fancy glass case
holding a huge four-gauge elephant gun. He slams in two
gigantic cartridges nearly an inch in diameter. He fires.
The concussion literally shakes the building. The recoil
slams Burt back against the wall.

The monster bullets tear monster holes in the monster. Great
gouts of curdles blood spew from it -- Burt hit an artery or
something. The beast convulses grotesquely, then collapses,
deflating like a beached whale. Burt and Heather stagger
together and hug each other fervently. They stare dumbfounded
at the massive dead horror. Burt suddenly shouts vehemently:

BURT
Broke into the wrong goddamn rec
room, didn't you, you BASTARD!

Val, Earl and Miguel listen to the silence hoping for some
sign that their friends are alive. Suddenly:

BURT
We killed it! You got that? We killed that motherfucker! Come
back!

It takes a moment for this to sink in, then the men CHEER --
as quietly as possible.

VAL
Uh...roger that, Burt. Uh, congratulations. Uh, be advised,
however, there are four more, repeat, four more motherfuckers.
Come back.

Burt and Heather dash out onto the roof, laden with weapons,
ammo boxes and their CB radio. They hit the deck, assorted
rifles and the elephant gun the ready.
Val shouts to everyone:

VAL
They got one! They killed one of the sons of bitches!

Melvin pumps his fist in the air.

MELVIN
Way to go, dudes!

Nancy and Mindy hug each other.
Perched on his Spanish tile roof, Nestor pours coffee from
his thermos and raises his cup in a toast.
Rhonda lets out a WHOOP.
The men sit, temporarily jubilant.

EARL
Well, I guess we don't get to make fun of Burt's lifestyle anymore,
huh?

Val grabs the CB mic.

VAL
Burt, any chance you can get the rest of them?

Burt and Heather peer from their fortress-like roof. Burt
spots earth bulging up near the foundation of his house.

BURT
One second, Val.

He grabs the elephant gun and takes two well-aimed shots --
two deafening BOOMS which echo off the distant mountains.
But the bullets bury themselves harmlessly in the dirt. The
bulge in the dirt moves calmly away and sinks from view.
Heather shakes her head.

HEATHER
You're not getting any penetration, even with the elephant gun.

BURT
Damn! Val, we can't get them. Never figured on having to shoot through
dirt! Best goddamn bullet stop there is. Come back.


The men are disappointed. That's not what they wanted to
hear from Burt. Then Earl perks up and grab the CB mic.

EARL
Okay, Burt, listen. Forget shooting them. Tell me this: can
you get to your truck?

BURT
No problem.

EARL
Good. You've got the only truck in the valley that can make it up that
damn jeep trail. So, here's the plan: You and Heather go for help.
Get to the mountains...

But Rhonda interrupts, pointing urgently from the water
tower.

RHONDA
Hey, guys! They're up to something.

Val, Earl and Miguel rush to the edge of the roof and look
down where she's pointing --

A creature is running its tentacles along the building's
foundation. It's a strange, more studied movement than we've
seen before.

VAL
What's it doing?

RHONDA
Why do you all keep asking me?

They all stare nervously down as the tentacles feel their way
along the wall, moving toward a corner of the building.
Suddenly Miguel spots something down the next wall.

MIGUEL
Hey, there's another one coming!

Another set of tentacles is feeling along the adjacent wall.
The two creatures meet at the corner, their tentacles touch-
ing rather like ants' antennae. They they submerge; tenta-
cles zipping into the earth. Nothing happens for a moment.

Then the corner of the building suddenly heaves up a couple
of feet. Clapboard siding splits. A warped window shatters.
(We don't see the creatures, only the effect of their shoving
from below). The men nearly lose their balance. Then the
corner sinks back down.

EARL
What the hell was that all about?

Nancy and Mindy are still huddled on the roof. They don't
make a sound. They're startled when the house suddenly
groans and tilts as creatures give it a tentative shove.
Nancy and Mindy frantically cling to the peak of the smooth
roof. The picture windows shatters. We hear beams POP and
CRACK, dishes CRASH off shelves. The front screen door
swings open. At last the house slowly settles back down.
The men are watching Nancy's house tensely.

MIGUEL
They weren't making no noise. Why they bothering them for?

VAL
They're studying the buildings... trying to figure them out.

Rhonda chimes in from the water tower.

RHONDA
Yeah, they're confused. They can feel our vibrations, but they can't
find us.

VAL
They're working together, too.

EARL
Yeah, like they got a plan...

BURT
Breaker there, Earl. What do you want us to do?

EARL
Hang on, Burt. The bastards are up to something.

Straddling the peak of his steeply sloping roof. Nestor
grabs on in panic as the creatures lift the place up slowly!
The roof warps, Spanish tiles shatter and rain down on the
ground.

This causes a flurry of activity. Tentacles snake around
where the tiles fell. We hear creatures crash through
inside, snorting and huffing. They attack the house in
earnest, shaking it violently, pushing the front wall out
till it falls flat. The roof collapses on that side! Nestor
can't hang on! He slides all the way down, landing across a
window on the flattened wall. The next instant he's grabbed
and pulled through the window, right into the ground. He
SCREAMS!

DOLLY along the ground, heading toward the storage shed where
Melvin is. All we can see is dirt, but we can still hear
Nestor screaming UNDERGROUND! His screams get more and more
faint

MELVIN
Oh, wow, man! No way! No fucking way, man...!

Nancy comforts Mindy.
Rhonda turns away.
Val, Earl and Miguel stare in horror and disbelief. Miguel
crosses himself. They're in worse trouble than they thought.

VAL
They knocked his place down on purpose, man. They're gonna tear
this whole town out from under us!

Burt and Heather's truck is parked in foreground. The couple
is up on the roof in background. Burt prowls along the edge
of the roof with the elephant gun. Heather mans the C.B.

VAL
Burt! Heather!

HEATHER
Yeah, Val.

VAL
We're in deep shit over here. Let's change that plan.

A hump of dirt raises near the base of the house. Burt jerks
the rifle to his shoulder and squeezes off a shot. The hump
moves away from the house.

HEATHER
Knock it off, Burt!

BURT
I think I scared it!

VAL
Forget going for help. We'll all be dead long before you get back.

Still moving away, the hump of dirt passes under the side-
walk, rippling the flagstones gently.

HEATHER
We're here, Val. Just tell us what you need. Come back.

VAL
They're tearing down the houses here! We all gotta get outta here
together! Now!

The hump of dirt passes under Burt and Heather's truck,
rocking the vehicle slightly.

HEATHER
We're with you, Val. We'll come get everybody. Just hang on tight.

The truck's security alarm starts BOOPING! Burt and Heather
stare down helplessly as the noisy truck is furiously
attacked by the frenzied creatures. Dust flies as metal rips
and tires shred.
Val Earl and Miguel listen in disbelief to the distant truck
alarm. It finally sputters and dies.

HEATHER
Val, we're going to have to forget about the truck...

VAL
Yeah, Heather, we got you.

They've hit rock-bottom. They sit in helpless, desperate
silence.

Over on the storage shed roof, Melvin is losing it:

MELVIN
Hey, you better think of something, man! You gotta do something!

EARL
Who?

MELVIN
You and Val, man!

Miguel nods in agreement. Val and Earl stare at him,
incredulous.

VAL
What?!! Since when the hell's every goddamn thing up to us?!

RHONDA
You guys do all the odd jobs.

Val just stares at her.

Then -- CRASH! The store shudders, creaks, and groans. The
creatures are back. One corner of the store lifts up, beams
splintering. Then another corner lifts up! The roof tilts
like the deck of a storm-tossed ship. From now on the
monsters shake and ram the building almost constantly.
Hanging on tight, the men peer over the edge.

EARL
We don't have a hell of a lot of time here.

Meanwhile, Rhonda tries her desperate best to be logical:

RHONDA
Look, the situation hasn't changed. We still have to get to solid rock.
There must be some way!

VAL
Like what?! There's nothing left that'll make it to the mountains!

MIGUEL
Hey, Val, quiet, man!

VAL
We need a helicopter is what we need, or a goddamn tank...

EARL
Wait a minute...the Cat. Could we take the Cat?

VAL
Jesus. It's slower than hell.

EARL
Yeah, but it weighs better than thirty tons. No way they could
stop it.

MIGUEL
We can't all fit on that bulldozer.

But Val is warming to the idea.

VAL
But...we could pull something! We could, I don't know, drag a car
behind it!

EARL
A car, huh? Like a big armored car? Need something bigger,
tougher...our truck maybe...or, hell, that old semi trailer!

VAL
Its tires are flat...

EARL
Doesn't matter. The cat can pull anything.

VAL
Well...all right! We just roll on out of here!

EARL
We got a plan!

They squint at the bulldozer -- 'way in the distance.

EARL
'Course, that's one helluva long walk.

They stare grimly, momentarily stuck for an idea. Then:

RHONDA
Listen, they only respond to vibration, right? Couldn't we...
distract them somehow?

VAL
Yeah, good! Something to keep them busy. We need a decoy.

EARL
Hey, Melvin, you wanna make a buck?

MELVIN
Fuck you!

Miguel grabs Earl and points down at little garden tractor in
a jumble of Pham Van's equipment and tools near the side of
the store.

MIGUEL
Hey, how about the tractor? Start him up. Let him go by itself. Let
those things chase it all over is they like that noise.

EARL
Not bad. What do you think?

The store takes a heavy hit. The front porch collapses with
a terrific crash.

VAL
I think the ground's getting closer. I think we do it. We're
gonna save our asses here!

RHONDA
Wait! How are you going to know they're all following it?

VAL
Good point.

EARL
We got two right here.

Val scrambles to the highest point of the sagging roof and
shouts to Nancy.

VAL
Nancy, we gotta find all four of them. How many you got over there?

The house shuddering and shaking.

NANCY
There's one. I think one.

Earl grabs the CB mic.

EARL
Burt, Heather, we got a little sort of a plan going here, maybe. Can
you tell if you've still got any of those things out at your place?
Come back.

BURT
Yeah, still got one poking around.

EARL
That's four. Let us know if it starts moving, Burt.

BURT
Roger that.

Val and Earl have lowered Miguel down to a window sill right
above the garden tractor. He has used his kerchief to tie
the steering wheel to keep the front wheels straight. He
jams the throttle open and signals thumbs-up to Val and Earl
above.
Val and Earl stride purposefully toward the opposite end of
the roof. Realizing they have the same idea, each one tries
to edge ahead of the other.

VAL
I'm making the run to the Cat.

EARL
Like hell you are.

VAL
Get real. I'm faster than you.

EARL
I'm best at driving the Cat.

VAL
Only if something happens to me.

EARL
Look, you'd better listen. I'm older and wiser.

VAL
Yeah, well, you're half right.

Earl raises a fist: The Challenge. They do scissors-rock-
paper. One, two, three. Val loses.

VAL
Damn. Guess I have to do it.

EARL
I won. I pick who does it.

Val glares at him. Earl's obviously determined.

EARL
Ready when you are, Miguel!

Earl positions himself, nervous as hell, ready to leap at the
right moment.

Miguel leans out precariously and pulls the tractor's starter
cord. Nothing. On the second try it starts. He slams it
into gear and sends it out toward open desert. The store
shakes under Miguel, almost knocking him off the window sill,
as two humps of dirt pursue the noisy tractor.

MIGUEL
There they go! They're chasing it!

A "spout" of dust erupts near the foundation as the creature
beneath zooms away toward the new sound. Nancy whispers:

NANCY
It's going... There goes this one! It's going!

The CB radio squawks:

BURT
Hey, this guy just took off like a shot. What'd you people do?

Earl is poised to leap. Val steps up and slaps him on the
back.

VAL
Watch your ass, shithead.

EARL
Don't worry about me, jerkoff.

Val instantly elbows Earl hard in the stomach. As Earl
doubles over, Val springs off the edge of the roof.

EARL
You goddamn suicidal son of a bitch!

We see Val running for all he's worth -- and there's the
bulldozer at the edge of town a long way away.
LOW CAMERA pursues the garden tractor as it bounces along.
Val charges across the vast open area that separates him from
the bulldozer. We can hear the tractor droning along in the
background.
The tractor suddenly takes a bad bounce and flips over! The
engine dies. Total silence.
Earl, Rhonda and Miguel have seen the tractor take a header.

EARL
Oh my God!

Val's crunching boots seem incredibly loud in the sudden
silence. He hesitates, glancing over his shoulder. He's
totally out in the open, halfway to the bulldozer. Should he
run back or go forward? He decides to go for the bulldozer.
All four creatures are now heading for Val. INTERCUT four
slightly different LOW CAMERA ANGLES speeding over the
ground, racing after him. He strains to the limit, breaths
coming in painful rasps -- but the creatures are closing in
on him with chilling ease.
Everyone watches in horror.

EARL
He'll never make it! They're gonna get him!

RHONDA
VAL, STOP! THEY'RE COMING! DON'T MOVE!

Val hears her and stops dead. So do the creatures. Maybe
twenty feet away, their giant snouts poke up out of the
ground: one, two, three, four. Val stands trembling. The
creatures softly shuffle back and forth, searching blindly
for him, hook-tentacles feeling everywhere. One tentacle
sweeps toward Val's boot. He manages to lift his foot just
in time, letting the tentacle pass beneath it. He balances
precariously like a flamingo.

EARL
It worked! They can't find him! Okay, okay...uh...we gotta make
some noise...a lot of noise! HEY, YOU SORRY SONS OF BITCHES, COME AND GET ME...!!!!

He starts jumping noisily up and down. Miguel joins in,
cursing the monsters in Spanish.
Rhonda kicks and shouts. But it's obvious they need some-
thing louder. She spots the aging outlet pipe coming from
the water tank. Bracing herself, she kicks at it with both
feet. It finally gives way at a rusted joint. A torrent of
water blasts out, thundering into the dirt.

All the creatures wheel about in the dirt and zoom off toward
town. Val breathes a big sigh of relief and sprints to the
bulldozer.

EARL
That did it, girl! Goddamn good thinking!

A mass of tentacles and snouts swirl through the big puddle
where the water if falling. The creatures' breathing throws
up spouts of muddy water. Rhonda looks down nervously. Earl
calls reassuringly from Pham Van's:

EARL
Don't worry. No way they can lift that tower. I mean it's really
heavy.

The dirt begins to cave in around the tower's footing. The
creatures are digging the dirt away!

The water tower tilts ever so slightly, creaking and
groaning! Rhonda frantically grabs a handhold.

RHONDA
They're not trying to lift it!

Val lands in the driver's seat and turns the engine over --
it doesn't start!

VAL
NO FUCKING WAY!

The old machine starts. Val slams it into reverse and backs
up toward the semi trailer.

The water tower is starting to tilt seriously. Water spills
over the top edge of the tank, drenching Rhonda.

Val has used heavy chains on the back of the bulldozer to
jerry-rig a hitch to the semi trailer. Now he scrambles
back into the driver's seat. He guns the engine, wrenching
the old semi trailer from years of dried mud and tumbleweeds.
Ancient tires disintegrate. Rusted wheels screech and
complain -- but it moves. Val lets out a whoop and heads
full-tilt for town. He's suddenly shocked as he sees:

Rhonda's in big trouble. She scrambles to the high side of
the tower platform. The tower's going to tip over at any
moment! It's roof slides off and crashes into the street!

On Pham Van's, Miguel and Earl are tearing apart the swamp
cooler, throwing pieces of it off the roof, trying to
distract the creatures, but they can't compete with the noise
from the water.

In BG the bulldozer rumbles toward the tower at top speed --
an excruciatingly slow eight miles per hour.

The tremendously heavy water tank suddenly tears loose,
sliding off its platform, nearly carrying Rhonda with it.
She ends up hanging from a cross beam as the water tank
splatters like an enormous egg below, sending a small tidal
wave down the street.

The remains of the tower tilt crazily nearly forty-five
degrees. The bulldozer grinds closer and closer. Rhonda
tries to climb up, but the jostling and shuddering of the
tower keeps her dangling precariously. Suddenly she falls!

And lands in the dirt. The creatures zero in on her! She
turns wildly and leaps for the blade of the approaching
bulldozer. The blade is only inches off the ground but Val
swiftly raises it, lifting Rhonda high into the air just
above the grasping tentacles!

As Rhonda climbs down into the cab, Val heads the bulldozer
over to Pham Van's and stops. Almost as soon as he does,
creatures attack, a frenzy of tentacles grabbing at all sides
of the massive earth-moving machine, slithering into the
treads. Val and Rhonda watch this nervously as Earl and
Miguel quickly clamber from the roof down into the protective
steel belly of the semi trailer.

Val mentally crosses his fingers and sends the bulldozer
roaring forward. It effortlessly tears loose from the
tentacles, grinding one to pulp in its treads. The creature
shrieks in pain. The humans cheer! At last they've got the
upper hand!

Melvin dances merrily, and noisily, on the metal rooftop.

MELVIN
Way to go! Dumb fucking worms! Now haul ass over here, man! Me
next! Get me off of here...!

The flimsy shed seems almost to explode as a furious creature
roars up inside. The walls buckle out. The whole structure
sags. Melvin scrambles to peak of the roof.

MELVIN
Oh shit! Oh, God! Help!

As the unseen creature thrashes around inside the shed, the
walls topple outward and the roof drops to the ground like a
pancake. Melvin has lost all self control and just keeps
screaming. Val pulls along side, jumps down onto the tread,
and reaches out to Melvin. But just as they join hands, the
creature hits the roof from beneath, dragging it several
feet. Val is yanked off the bulldozer and lands with Nelvin
on the roof!

The creature slams into the roof repeatedly, but the
corrugated metal is both light and resilient. It bends, but
the frustrated monster can't get enough "bite" to tear
through it. Val and Melvin straddle the peak of the roof,
trying desperately to hang on as it heaves up, buckling like a
bronco.

Earl scrambles into the bulldozer driver's seat and heads
after them at full throttle, the big diesel roaring.

Melvin and Val prepare to jump onto the bulldozer, but just
before it reaches them the roof suddenly starts to slide like
some mad flying carpet, carried from beneath by a creature!
Val hangs on like a rodeo rider, struggling to keep fear-
crazed Melvin from tumbling off.

The roof zigs and zags, spins and twists. Melvin and Val
won't be shaken loose. Earl does his best to head it off,
but it's hard to predict which way the roof will scoot next.

The rood careens alongside the edge of a dirt-walled drainage
ditch, then suddenly skitters sideways and plunges over the
edge. Melvin and Val tumble to the bottom. As they jump to
their feet:

VAL
We got about three seconds!

Val sees, almost right above them, an exposed pipe which
spans the ditch. He shoves Melvin toward it. They leap up
and grab the pipe, pulling their legs up as high as they can.
An instant later, the creature blasts through one wall of the
ditch, roars past beneath them and burrows into the opposite
wall!

Earl brings the bulldozer to a thundering stop next to them.

EARL
Well, come on!

Nancy and Mindy huddle together on their roof. The upraised
scoop blade of the bulldozer comes INTO SHOT with Val riding
it. He helps them step across into it.
Burt is using a hacksaw to cut lengths from a heavy vertical
pipe to which his TV antenna was anchored. Heather works
with the sections Burt has already cut off. She is filling
them with gunpowder from reloading cannisters and hammering
the ends shut -- they're making bombs.

Then they hear rumbling. What is it, more creatures? They're
surprised by the odd sight of the strange contraption
approaching.

BURT
God damn! Armored transport!

Val climbs up on the bulldozer roll cage so he's about even
with Heather and Burt. A creature occasionally slams into the
underside of the bulldozer of the semi trailer, rocking them
slightly, throwing up clouds of dust.

VAL
Let's go you two. We're headed for the mountains.

BURT
In a minute.

He grabs a coil of blackpowder cannon fuse. He cuts off a
length and stuffs it in the end of one of the pipe bombs
during:

VAL
Come on, Burt, we can't hold still long. They're damn smart and
getting smarter by the minute.

Burt hefts the finished bomb.

BURT
That's fine. We've got some new things to teach them.

VAL
Damn it! They'll sink this rig just like a boat!

Just then the bulldozer starts to tilt sideways, creatures
digging dirt away beneath it. Earl guns it forward out of
the depression they're making.

EARL
See that? They're doing it now! They try it every time we hold
still.

Burt and Heather are impressed. They rush around the
rooftop, gathering food, ammo, guns, the finished bombs,
handing them to impatient Val who hands them down to people
in the semi trailer during:

VAL
Jesus Christ, we're only going nine miles. Be there in two hours, tops!

BURT
Yeah, well those things are gonna be on our ass every foot of the
way, right?

He holds up to rifles to Heather, the HK91 assault rifle and
another elephant gun.

BURT
What do you think? Max firepower
or...?

HEATHER
I'd go for penetration. The 458 shooting solids -- less ammo to
carry anyway.

Burt nods. Everyone on the bulldozer and semi trailer shouts:

TOWNSFOLK
Come on! Who cares! Forget it! Let's go!

Dust flies up. The bulldozer tilts. Earl guns it forward
again. Heather and Burt grab a few more things and leap down
into the semi trailer.

MELVIN
Give me a gun! I'll take one!

BURT
I wouldn't give you a gun if it was World War Three.

Earl pilots the strange looking contraption out into the
desert. Burt and Heather watch their fortress-home recede.

BURT
Food for five years. A thousand gallons of gas. Air filtration.
Water filtration. Geiger counter. Bomb shelter...
...underground goddamn monsters?!

Heather puts a consoling arm around him.
The bulldozer easily lumbers along the really rough road we
saw Val and Earl's truck struggle over the other morning.

As they come closer we see Burt and Heather riding "shotgun,"
he sitting out in the bulldozer's scoop, she on the rear of
the semi trailer, elephant guns at the ready. Val, Earl and
Rhonda are in the cab.
It's late afternoon, sun casting dramatic shadows across the
beautiful desert. We are WIDE on the bizarre vehicle,
resolutely grinding along not far from the cliffs, nearing
the mountains ahead.
As they scan the desert, the people are feeling like they may
get out of this after all. Earl calls back to the people in
the semi trailer.

EARL
Any sign of'em?

MIGUEL
Maybe they just gave up, you know.

MELVIN
Yeah, the bulldozer's too much for them, man.

As they top a gentle rise, Burt excitedly points ahead.

BURT
There we go, solid rock!

Everyone cheers. But then Heather points up ahead to one
side.

HEATHER
What's that?

Perhaps two hundred yards from them, a huge cloud of dust
wells up from behind big boulders.
Everyone stares uneasily at the billowing cloud.

NANCY
Is it them?

MIGUEL
What else could it be?

MINDY
What're they doing?

MELVIN
Maybe they're taking a dump.

RHONDA
We're not going over there, right?

EARL
No. We go straight.

VAL
Damn it. What the hell are they doing? They're up to something.

EARL
I don't care what they're doing as long as they're doing it way over
there.

Earl shoves the throttle all the way. The engine screams.

We MOVE IN through the cloud of dust. Dirt is flying by the
ton out of en eight foot diameter hole in the ground. A huge
mound of the tunneled-out dirt is already piled high. The
creatures are digging a tunnel -- but why?

We watch the bulldozer rumbling along. It seems unstop-
able. The mountains and safety are barely a mile away --

when the EARTH CAVES IN!! THE BULLDOZER PLUNGES NOSE FIRST
INTO AN UNSEEN PIT DUG JUST BENEATH THE SURFACE!

The machine ends up half-buried at a steep angle. The semi
trailer is right on the edge of the pit. Everyone is shaken,
bruised, bloodied. Val, Earl and Rhonda look frantically for
Burt, who was riding out front in the scoop. They're
relieved to see him clawing his way out of pit. Val hauls
him up and all four of them now leap into the semi trailer.
As they come to rest, Val slowly realizes what's happened.

VAL
They...they dug a trap! I can't believe this!

The idling bulldozer engine coughs and dies. There is a
moment's crushing silence.

Then the dreaded digging begins. Dust boils up around the
semi trailer -- creatures digging from below! The semi
trailer shakes and shudders, slowly sinking. The people
huddle together in sheer panic. Val and Earl grab the
nearest of Burt and Heather's guns and fire wildly, hope-
lessly, down at the dirt. Ricochets whine into the distance.

Burt grimly digs an overloaded knapsack for one of his
pipe bombs. He leaps up between Val and Earl and lights the
fuse, looking for a target.

BURT
Hungry?! Eat this!!

He tosses the bomb at some churning earth and dives back into
the semi trailer.

BURT
Keep your heads down!

KABOOM! The explosion throws up a big plume of dust and
rocks. We hear a new, very strange sound of pain from the
creatures. The semi trailer instantly stops shaking. The
creatures have stopped digging. All is quiet.

The people peer up over the edge of the semi trailer, looking
all around. Then:

RHONDA
There they are!

Numerous spurts of dust mark their paths as they race madly
away, fanning out from the semi trailer.

MIGUEL
Hey, Burt...did you get one...!

RHONDA
No, there's still four of them See...there's like four different
dust trails.

VAL
Sure got their attention, though. Nice going, Burt. Earl, what about the Cat?

Earl's already staring down at the bulldozer.

EARL
No way. It's down for the count.

Val looks around.


Toward the cliffs he sees a big rock outcrop.
Rhonda points in the opposite direction from where Val is
looking.

RHONDA
Here they come! They're coming back!

Heather unexpectedly fire two deafening blasts from her
elephant gun at the approaching creatures, then shakes her
head, frustrated. They're still coming.

VAL
Come on, everybody! We gotta run for those rocks over there!

EARL
Jesus, Val, it's pretty far.

MELVIN
Yeah, man! They'll get us!

VAL
There sure as hell get us if we stay here!

RHONDA
Wait, wait, listen. Burt do yo have any more of those things?

BURT
The bombs? Damn right I do.

RHONDA
Well, what is you throw one that way, the way we want to go...
Then, when the explosion happens... if it drives them away again...we
all run like goddamn bastards! Pardon my French.

Wham! With a jolt the semi trailer begins shaking and
shuddering again -- sinking, smiling.

MELVIN
What if it doesn't scare them? What if they don't run?

RHONDA
I don't think it does scare them! It hurts them! They're so
sensitive to sound, they have to run! It hurts too much!

Glances all around.

BURT
She's got my vote.

VAL
Right. We're gonna run. Get ready.

Val squats in front of tear-streaked Mindy.

VAL
Mindy, you understand what we're going to do?
And don't worry, they can't get us once we're on those rocks.

MELVIN
I don't know, man. They're too fast! You can't outrun them, no
way!

As Burt readies another bomb, he pauses to hand bug-eyed
Melvin a huge Ruger Super Redhawk 44 magnum handgun.

BURT
Here, kid. This'll make'em think twice.

Melvin's eyes bug out further. Burt lights his bomb.

BURT
Heads down!!

He hurls the bomb. Wait. Wait. WHOOOM! Again we hear the
creatures' unearthly shriek of pain. Rhonda's on her feet
before the rocks stop falling. She spots the creatures.

RHONDA
It worked! There they go!

VAL
LET'S DO IT!

Earl lets out a war wild WHOOP. It's infectious. CRANE UP
with them as everyone piles out of the semi trailer like
soldiers out of a trench -- they charge across no-man's-land.

Melvin runs like a demon. He tries to shoot at the first
thing he sees but the gun just clicks over and over -- empty.

MELVIN
Burt, you bastard!

Enraged, he doubles his speed, trying to overtake Burt.

Mindy can't keep up. Nancy tries to pull her along. Val and
Earl swoop in, grab Mindy under either arm, and carry her
between them.
The ground heaves violently as the retreating monsters
angrily wheel about and charge back after the humans.

Big slabs jutting this way and that -- a rock iceberg in a
sand ocean. The people scramble onto it amid whoops of joy
and relief. Melvin charges up to Burt:

MELVIN
You asshole! There's no bullets in this gun!

BURT
Got you moving, didn't it?

Burt's line gets a laugh from people, but then tentacles
burst up on all sides of the rock, probing, feeling. The
effect is instantly sobering. Burt swiftly grabs out his
remaining bombs -- six of them -- and holds one ready. But
they're in no immediate danger.

EARL
So...now what?

RHONDA
Could we make it to the mountains?

VAL
No way. We'd need fifty of those things.

The hopelessness of the situation suddenly hits Val, Earl,
and Rhonda. After a moment:

EARL
Well...that's it. We're not getting off this rock...

VAL
Not going to pole vault anywhere. That's for sure.

HEATHER
What's the matter with you? What are you talking about?!

RHONDA
They'll just wait out there till we're dead. That's what they do.

As this sinks in, Burt loses his cool, igniting an argument.

BURT
What? Well, for chrissake, we could have made a stand at our
place! We had food, water...

EARL
You can't fight'em that way...

BURT
You two jackasses hauled us way the hell out here...!?

VAL
BACK OFF, BURT...!

BURT
Well, who put you two in charge?

NANCY
Burt! Those animals would have killed you!

Everyone stares in surprise at normally quiet Nancy.

NANCY
You haven't seen what they can do.

VAL
They'd have dug your place out from under you in half an hour!

There's a long, grim silence. Everyone sits glumly.
Finally, Burt picks up a bomb and contemplates it:

BURT
If it comes to starvation, I know what I'm doing. Take one of these.
Walk right out there with the fuse lit. Stuff it down my pants and
let 'em take me down. BOOOOM!

Heather puts a soothing hand on his shoulder.

HEATHER
Jesus, honey!

But now Earl brightens a little.

EARL
You know, that's not a bad idea!

The others react. Is Earl nuts?

EARL
No, I mean, it gives me an idea... going fishing like...

In the open desert, a rock lands. Then another. Val and
Rhonda are throwing them from the rock outcrop.

Val, Earl, Rhonda, and Burt have moved away from the main
group to another section of the rock outcrop where
intervening boulders will protect everyone from an explosion.

Earl has tied a bomb to some nylon rope form one of Burt's
knapsacks. Burt places the other bombs safely out of the way
behind a ledge. Meanwhile, Val and Rhonda keep throwing
rocks. Soon, the ground shifts.

VAL
There! Right straight out in front of you.

Burt has his coil of fuse.

BURT
How much you think?

EARL
I don't know... They're pretty quick...fifteen seconds?

Burt nods, expertly eyeballing a fifteen second length and
snipping it off. As he stuffs it into the bomb:

EARL
What the hell is that, anyway?

BURT
Cannon fuse.

EARL
What do you use it for?

BURT
My cannon.

The bomb is ready -- it's moment of truth. Earl digs in his
pocket for the lighter -- but Val has it. Val nervously
leans over to light the fuse, but then frowns as he sees how
Earl is holding the rope.

VAL
Come on, you're not going to do your lasso thing...?

EARL
Hey, just 'cause you're no good with a rope...

Val shakes his head and lights the fuse. Earl whirls the
bomb on the end of its rope like a lasso, and lets it fly out
as far as he can. Then he starts pulling it back in along
the ground like a fishing lure. Rhonda stares at her watch
as they all sink down behind the protective boulder.

RHONDA
Come on...come on...

BURT
Take it...take the bait...

Suddenly a snout subtly surfaces and gulps down the bomb. A
tense two seconds later -- KABOOOM! Bullseye! It's a
volcano of gory creature parts. They splatter all over! The
remaining creatures shriek and race away again. The people
cheer wildly.

Val, Earl, Rhonda, and Burt prepare to try again. This time
Val has the rope and a new bomb. Rhonda stands by him, ready
with the lighter. Earl lobs rocks out into the desert.

EARL
Where the hell are they? Hope they didn't wise up.

RHONDA
Nope, there! That's one.

Rhonda shakily lights the fuse. Val heaves the bomb out and
starts trolling. The creature swallows it. Everyone drops
down behind the boulder, Val impulsively grabbing a second
bomb. They tense with anticipatory glee -- but the creature
suddenly spits its bomb back out! It sails back right over
their heads. It strikes the rocks above them, skittering
down a crevice and landing in -- BURT'S PILE OF BOMBS!

Val, Earl, and Rhonda scatter. Burt dives backward over a
rock ledge.

BABABAMMM!! All the bombs explode, throwing rocks every-
where. The creatures streak away. Val, Earl and Rhonda
sprawl into the dirt, half stunned.

When the panic is over, Val and Earl realize where they are --
fifty yards out in open desert! So is Rhonda, off at an
angle from them! Only Burt is safe on the rock outcrop.

And the creatures are coming back fast!

The stranded trio starts back for the outcrop, but the
creatures burst up ahead of them -- one blocking Rhonda's
path, the other two cutting Val and Earl off! The creatures
roar toward their easy prey!

Val and Earl freeze. The ground bulges as the creatures
"skid" to a halt not ten feet from them. Rhonda stands stock
still some fifty feet away, eyeing her own creature.

Over on the outcrop with the main group of people Heather
sizes up the situation.

HEATHER
Make noise. Everybody! COME ON!

Everyone starts hopping up and down, yelling, screaming, and
clapping. Burt even runs a few feet out from the rocks,
firing a pistol into the dirt.

BURT
COME ON, YOU SLIMEBAGS! OVER HERE! FRESH MEAT...!

The crowd keeps up the ruckus. The creatures are distracted
by the noise, but this time they don't automatically go after
it. Their big snouts turn uncertainly this way and that.
But they just stay where they are. Their hook-tentacles
slide out, feeling all around. Earl whispers:

EARL
They're not falling for it!

Heather takes careful aim with her elephant gun.

HEATHER
I'll make'em pay attention goddamnit...

But before she can fire, the creatures mysteriously sink from
view. Val, Rhonda, and Earl remain frozen. What the hell is
going on? Nothing happens -- then --

A HUGE HUMP OF EARTH suddenly wells up near Rhonda. It sinks
back down as fast as it appeared. It's like the creature
suddenly lifted its whole body almost to the surface then
submerged again. Another hump rises and falls right near Val
and Earl. There's a pause as the men whisper:

VAL
They're...they're trying to make us move!

EARL
Or just knock us over. Look, use the bomb!

VAL
It's out last one. We can't kill them all.

The creatures try another random "barrage" of humps, some
coming perilously close. They know they'll eventually topple
their prey. One comes so close to Val and Earl that pebbles
roll down its sides into their boots!

EARL
Use the fucking bomb!

VAL
So, we get back on that rock and in three days we're dead anyway.

EARL
I want to live for the three days.

More humps rise and fall. Val gives in. He signals Rhonda,
gesturing with the bomb. She understands. He'll set it off,
driving away the creatures, and they'll all run back to the
outcrop.

Val digs for the lighter. Doesn't have it. Earl digs for
it, too. But he doesn't have it either! They go dead pale.
How can that be? They look across fifty feet of deadly open
ground -- trembling Rhonda holds up the lighter!

Over on the outcrop, Burt shouts:

BURT
What's wrong? Use the bomb, for Godsake!

Val signals to Rhonda to throw the lighter. She nods. But
just before she does, A HUMP STARTS RISING DIRECTLY UNDER
HER! She fights to keep her balance -- struggling to keep
from taking that single step which will instantly tell the
creatures where she is.

But there's no hope. The hump jerks higher. Her boots slip
down the gravelly side! Instantly the creature twists toward
her, its hungry mouth erupting out of the dirt. She screams
and dashes for Val and Earl. They run to meet her. The
other creatures surface. The trio is cut off from the rock
outcrop!

Val and Earl link up with Rhonda and they all run madly while
Rhonda tries to light Val's bomb fuse. But suddenly Val
yanks the bomb away.

VAL
No wait! This way!

He veers off in a new direction. Startled Earl and Rhonda
have no choice but to follow. As they desperately try to
catch up to Val:

EARL
What the hell are you doing?!!

VAL
I GOT A GODDAMN PLAN!!

Earl looks up ahead. They're headed right for --
The massive cliffs. Earl's eyes bug out. In seconds they'll
be right at the brink with nowhere to run.

EARL
This better be one great plan!

As they skid to a stop at the very brink, Val breaks off the
bomb fuse, leaving only one inch of it. He whirls to check
the progress of the advancing creatures.

VAL
Get ready!

He holds the bomb out to Rhonda. She instantly tries to
light it. He grabs her wrist so hard it hurts.

EARL
Light it, man! LIGHT IT!!

VAL
Not yet, not yet...

The charging creatures are almost underfoot. Finally Val
pulls Rhonda's hand over to light the fuse. Instantly he
hurls the bomb as far as he can, behind the creatures.

EARL
Too far! You threw it behind them!

The ground opens under their feet! Tentacles snake toward
Val and Earl. A horrid mouth clamps onto Rhonda's boot. She
screams as it starts to pull her down.

WHOOOM!! The bomb explodes! The creatures shriek in pain,
instantly releasing their prey and racing away from the
painful shock wave in the only direction they can --

Right out through the face of the cliffs!! The huge,
shrieking creatures seem to hang in mid-air for a moment,
their grotesque bodies undulating in pain. And then they
fall! And fall and fall -- a thousand feet!

The creatures land on massive jagged rocks, exploding like
immense, horrid watermelons. Multi-colored gore festoons the
whole cliff face.

TILT UP to see three tiny figures standing at the top of the
cliff.

Val peers down at the distant creatures for a long time. Then
he notices Earl and Rhonda are staring at him. Where the hell
did he get an idea like that? After a moment:

VAL
Well, it just suddenly hit me, you know? Stampede?

They turn and head back toward the others. They laugh as
they realize how stealthily they are walking. Val starts
taking big, exaggerated stomping steps. Rhonda and Earl
follow suit. The trio goes off arm in arm, stomping merrily.

Val and Earl roll two scavenged truck wheels down the street
toward their own truck; which is up on jacks, two wheels
missing.

Mindy races past excitedly.

MINDY
Look!

A highway maintenance truck is rolling into town followed by
a police car. The townsfolk happily swarm around the
MAINTENANCE MEN and POLICE OFFICER who gape at the destroyed
town.

Val and Earl eagerly start bolting on one of their new wheels.

EARL
Road's in!

VAL
Road's in! Now, soon as we hit Bixby we start making phone calls.
We could make some real money off this whole thing, get in People
magazine...

EARL
People? Hell, National Geographic.

VAL
Sell the movie rights. We're going straight from blue-collar to white
-collar.

EARL
Yeah...but no ties.

VAL
No ties.

Rhonda pulls up in her truck, leans out and snaps their
picture with a top-of-the-line Nikon.

RHONDA
Hi, guys. Burt loaned me his camera.

EARL
Howdy, Rhonda.

RHONDA
You're really leaving, huh?

EARL
You bet. You gonna be staying up here?

RHONDA
Well, yeah! There's going to be major research up here. First
thing is to get some pictures of that one we dug up.

An awkward pause. Finally she extends her hand to them. Val
just gives it a quick shake.

RHONDA
Uh...well, maybe I'll see you two sometime...
And thanks for everything, you know, saving my life and stuff.

VAL
Well...you're welcome.

She gazes at him, just a hint of something in her eyes. Earl
springs to attention. Is the boy blind? Then Rhonda snaps
out of it.

RHONDA
Well...see ya.

They nod. She drives off. Earl stares at Val who starts
putting the second wheel on the truck.

EARL
Christ, Val, maybe she's not your type, but you could, at least, be
civil.

VAL
Civil? I'm civil.

EARL
You're not civil, you're glum. We got the world by the tail with a
downhill pull and all of a sudden you go glum on me.

Earl freezes as a bell goes off in his head.

EARL
Oh my God. She got to you. You do like her!

VAL
Somebody paying you to do this?

EARL
She just practically asked you for a date. What the hell is wrong?!

Val glares at Earl for a moment.

VAL
Earl, get real. What does she need with a guy like me?

Earl is dumbfounded.

EARL
What was that? All this time she's not good enough for you. Now,
suddenly, you're not good enough for her? God, my work is never done.
You don't decide is you're worthless, she does. But you gotta
give her a chance!

Val lowers the jack letting the truck down.

VAL
Earl, I'm not gonna make a fool of myself! You got that covered.

Earl stands there fuming, mind racing. A last ditch idea
hits home -- we see a devilish glint in his eye.

EARL
Fine, make the mistakes I did. I think I'll just be playing this
hand myself.

VAL
What?

EARL
She likes both of us. We both helped her out.

VAL
You are so full of shit...

EARL
Oh yeah? Think about this: She ain't as narrow-minded as you.
I'll lay odds she's looking for character in a man. For my part,
I'd be proud to have her. I'd goddamn worship her.

Earl hops into the truck.

EARL
I'm going out there right now, help her take those pictures...set up her
seismo-jiggers. Whatever she wants. Who the hell knows what'll
happen?

Earl starts to drive off. Val springs into the passenger
seat. Through the truck's rear window we see Val raise his
hand in The Challenge. They do a round of scissors-rock-
paper -- but it's a tie. They go again. Another tie. They
keep playing and tying as they drive off into the distance
and we --





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