Storyville (1992) Movie Script

Okay, let's go!
...into his eyes, | when a bird flew over his head.
You can't lose your eye | from just a little bird shit.
- But it was only... | - Two weeks after I had the hawk.
Here we go.
Cray, we got a party going on out here.
A lot of good folks have come...
forking some money | just to get a good look at you.
No, I'm working on my speech.
Hell, all you got to do... Boy!
All you got to do is just stand up there...
breathe in the hopes and aspirations | of the crowd...
then blast it back in their general direction. | Right?
You're thinking about the speech? | What's wrong with the speech?
It works fine. | It worked great two days ago at the hospital.
I'm thinking about what I'd like to say.
Excuse me, fellows. | I want a caucus with my nephew.
Freshen me up, will you? Unstintingly.
I believe that the evil and failures of men | are nothing.
And that courage and striving | are everything.
My father used to tell me...
it is everyone's responsibility...
to help tame the savageness of man...
and make better the life of this world.
With your help, | as your representative in Congress...
I'd like very much to have that opportunity.
Thank you.
Cray, you take after your old man | in more ways than one.
I'm so proud of you.
There's a feeling not that bad.
Miss, can you come over here | and take a drink order?
- What'll you have? | - I'll have a Pimm's Cup.
- Hello there. | - Don't stare at a thirsty man, honey.
Get him a Pimm's Cup right quick now.
- Thank you. | - He's earned himself a drink.
You got yourself a set of brass ones.
With a girl like that...
you could hear them clinking | halfway to Baton Rouge.
- Don't let them get caught in your zipper. | - You watch yourself.
Cray, step into my office.
Listen, Nathan LaFleur is upstairs.
We didn't expect him. | So play nicely, pay a tribute...
He can deliver votes that we need. | Notice my deliberate emphasis on "need."
What do you think? | I'm going to say something stupid?
No, you're not going to, are you?
Where's Natalie?
She called. They're running late.
Don't give me that look, now.
This makes me very nervous.
- Mr. LaFleur. | - Mr. Fowler.
- Sorry I missed your speech. | - One's just about the same as another.
Have a seat.
Can I get you something to drink?
Coke, with a little ice, please.
I saw you in court on the Charvel case.
- I'm a great admirer of yours. | - Thank you.
This is quite a house.
You've never been up before?
A bootlegger built it during the Prohibition.
My grandfather bought it after the war.
The Colonel bought a great number | of things in St. Albans Parish after the war.
My grandfather brought St. Albans | into the 20th century.
Electricity, running water, | the school system.
No question. He was a very important man.
I can recall a speech he gave once | in the State Legislature...
advocating armed resistance to immigration.
Are we here to talk about | what our grandfathers did?
My grandfather was a sharecropper, | for the record.
Your father came to see me | a week before he died.
- I didn't know you knew each other. | - We didn't.
He asked me questions about the federal | lawsuit brought against your family.
I did some consulting work | for one of the plaintiffs.
The case against my family...
was dropped before it ever came to trial.
Your father killed himself | the day he was scheduled to testify.
A hunting accident.
In the last 50 years...
your family's amassed | one of the largest fortunes in the state.
Most of St. Albans | is still living below the poverty line.
Your parish sits on top | of the largest gas reserve in the region.
Revenue from the lease of those reserves | to oil companies...
is conservatively estimated at $75 million.
Revenue which, by law, | belongs to the people who own the land.
I've been hearing | this kind of barbershop trash my whole life.
The shrouded implications, | unsubstantiated allegations. I just...
What does this have to do | with supporting my candidacy?
Have you met my opponent?
Avner Hollister is ready | to set minority causes back a generation.
He's got a 20-point lead in the polls.
You want to throw your weight his way, | that's fine.
Taking what I say personally | would be unfortunate.
No, that's all right. | Next time we get together...
maybe I can run your family's reputation | into the dirt.
Nice talking to you.
Two bits, four bits
six bits, a dollar!
If you vote for Fowler
stand up and holler!
I see the missus is sharing your moment | in the sun?
We're separated.
Where're you staying?
The apartment at the Pontel.
I think you used to live there, didn't you?
Why don't you take off | those damn sunglasses?
What are you running for, Cray?
What am I supposed to do? Drive a bus? | I don't know how to do anything else.
Don't be so hard on yourself, sugar.
I'm sure you'll make a wonderful bus driver.
- Can I have a Pimm's Cup, please? | - Yes, sir.
There you are.
- Sorry it took so long. | - It's all right.
- Hey, Chappie. | - How're you doing, Cray?
How you doing, Fats?
Mr. Cray, how you doing? | Sure is good to see you.
I appreciate everything you did, you know.
I hope the taxpayers | rent you a room in the workhouse.
I only take their dues.
- Don't shit me. | - I wouldn't.
- Where you folks from? | - No, thanks.
Everybody's saying, "No, thanks." | That must be up north somewhere.
Look at that. When's the trial?
I go to court tomorrow. | I got a public defender...
and I ain't got much confidence | in that dude.
I'm just an innocent bystander. | What do you know.
- I'll see what I can do. | - I appreciate that.
You've been a nice fellow to me. | There ain't nobody better than you. Really.
Really and truly, you know.
Come here, fella! Step over here.
Let me show you. | Look at that lady with a snake.
You've never seen nothing like that.
Want something to drink?
- What's your name? | - Lee.
Lee? That's a good Southern name.
You want to go someplace?
Listen, Lee, | my apartment's only a couple of blocks...
Okay.'re chilling your ass, taking a break...
and there's a cocksucker | in Phoenix, Arizona, who owns a theater...
jams a fist in your ass. | I can't even get your ass up...
to fucking pick it up! | You say that this is worse here.
You'd better familiarize yourself | with the fucking code.
I'm gonna take your pictures. | Come on in here, Brandy.
I mean it. Get your ass up!
Get you ass off the chair!
- What's this? | - An aikido studio.
Take off your shoes.
First lesson: Always be prepared.
Jesus! You've got | one wacky sense of humor.
All right.
Shit! Hold on a second.
Fight back. Hit me.
I'm a lawyer. I think you ought to know that.
There's no lesson if you don't fight back.
I'm not in the habit of fighting with girls.
If this is your idea of foreplay...
Losing is inevitable.
Be patient.
- Hey, Lieutenant. | - Where you at?
- And let's get this thing enforced. | - All right.
Okay? Got to go. Bye.
Natalie, I was just coming to see you.
- What happened to you? | - I'm a little sore today. I'm fine.
- You look like you were hit by a bus. | - That's wishful thinking.
I want to ask you something. | Come on, limp with me.
I'm not asking you for a date. Come on.
Wait. Slow down.
So how's your life?
- You're seeing anybody? | - Legions.
What are you doing for fun?
If you don't mind, let's skip to the part | where you tell me what you want.
I need access to some sealed documents.
The civil suit against my family, | the Oxytech case.
That was federal.
All I know is what I read in the paper, | and that was three years ago.
Still, a file's a file, right?
What do you want to know?
I'd like to know why my father killed himself.
Forgive me for saying...
but you didn't seem so interested | at the time.
I was drunk at the time.
I suppose I can make some inquiries.
I'd appreciate it.
Maybe we could have dinner sometime.
You just keep your mind | on your work, mister.
You look beautiful.
Two-color. | Get the receipt copy or send it back.
Good morning.
What did you do? | Run into some rough trade?
Step into my office.
This goes out today.
- A question. | - Coffee, please.
Why are you doing this to me?
I don't think you realize | what a difficult job we have here.
It's hard enough trying to run | a modern campaign with your uncle...
who last had an original idea | during the Paleolithic era.
They refuse to trust me because they think | I'm a Yankee. I'm from Tampa.
You got shaving cream behind your ear.
Every morning we rip those down. | Every night they put them back up again.
My latest polls tell us | we're still eating Hollister's dust.
- You look like shit, you know that? | - Thank you.
We asked for coffee!
Well, for some good news.
Understand how reptilian | this makes me feel.
I mean, I was at your wedding.
Bad enough hiring a private investigator | to tail her...
he comes back with these.
Somebody asking for coffee?
- Melanie, how are you doing? | - Fine.
- I hope I'm not interrupting anything. | - No, same old stuff. Politics.
Sweetheart, I need to talk to you.
I've been thinking long and hard about this | and it hasn't been an easy decision...
and I'd like to get your reaction.
What is it?
I've decided to go with the convertible.
The convertible, right.
In the calypso red...
with the anthracite interior | and electric top...
and also a phone.
I was thinking, | what do I need a phone in my car for?
Then I realized, when you win the election, | it's really going to come in handy.
- That makes sense, sweetheart. | - Goody!
We have that thing.
We're gonna be late.
- Mel, we got a thing. | - Okay.
All right? See you later on.
If it's okay, they only got one of these left | down at the lot...
and I was wondering if I could get a check, | please, maybe?
Yeah, this afternoon.
That's great!
- Hon? | - Yeah.
Are you limping?
I pulled a muscle on the old massage table.
You bad boy. Now, you be careful.
I like that color. That's...
Calypso red.
Let's get out of here.
- Kisses. | - All right.
Let's go.
Put it in there! Hit it!
Come on.
We got off on the wrong foot here, | I'm sorry about the way I reacted.
To tell you the truth, I'd be very...
surprised if you didn't have some questions | about my family.
I need your endorsement. | I don't think I'll get elected without it.
I don't see how Avner Hollister | is a viable alternative for you.
Maybe I'm not so sure you are, either.
So fill me in.
You are a real hotshot, Fowler.
What did you tell my father | about those oil leases?
I told him to check the records office | at the Mineral Rights Commission.
That looks hard.
If we could just apply some technology | to these records...
we could be more efficient | in this department.
They keep saying they're going to transfer | these volumes to computer files.
They can't even afford to immunize children | against polio.
You think this is a priority?
I'm interested in 1939, 1940. | Around that time.
Yes, mineral leases.
Let's see.
I could drop dead in here. | They wouldn't find me for a month.
- That's odd. | - It's not here.
No 1939 or '40.
Someone check it out?
These are official government records. | They don't get checked out.
- Could it have been misplaced? | - Not by me.
If they have, they may as well have fallen | into the Bermuda Triangle.
Cray Fowler used to work | in the Public Defender's Iffice.
Cray Fowler was very good at his job.
Cray Fowler kept more of his clients | out of jail than anyone in the city...
so they could go right back to doing | what they were good at.
Now Cray Fowler wants to go | to Washington.
Decent people need representation, too.
The time is ripe.
I guess he's not going for the black vote.
On the bright side, | your support among convicted felons...
is practically 100 percent.
The guy's a fucking pig.
- A pig with a 20-point lead. | - Has this aired yet?
- How'd we get this? | - We have a friend in his camp.
Fuck Hollister. | He's an accident waiting to happen.
I'll lay even money that the 10:00 news | could find our boy in bed...
cross-eyed with a troop of circus midgets | and a green monkey...
that's under indictment, | and come Election Day...
his margin of victory wouldn't dip any lower | than tits on a giraffe.
Thank you. Goodnight.
Cliff, Pudge, I'll meet you at the restaurant.
I almost forgot. I got a gift for you.
The Governor gave me this. | When you stop that, all...
- Sorry I'm late. | - You're not late. Just being timely.
- You know Avner Hollister. | - How you doing?
- I believe we met at the Endymion Ball. | - That's right.
You know Bennett Jones, | my very able campaign manager.
- You probably don't remember me. | - No, I don't.
I haven't seen you since you were this high.
Lt. Michael Trevallian, NOPD.
He's my man in charge | of campaign security.
Why don't we move on | to the logistics for the debate?
All you got to do is slap one of these | on your car...
and come see me in Washington | next September.
Cut the cards.
Opening statements.
We were thinking five minutes per candidate | and questions...
Thank you.
First time I've been out here...
since the accident.
Didn't he say anything to you?
The Colonel used to bring us out.
I've been coming out | ever since she was a pup.
Gentlemen, the bar is open.
Ain't no fun no more.
Thinking about your old man?
I don't know, Cray.
you can't know what's in a man's mind.
It's the damnedest truth | you'll ever run across.
You can't know | why a man does what he does.
Was there any reason | why he would have been afraid to testify?
No reason. Ray was a good businessman.
Played the game, but honest, fair.
State had a case.
- What about the Colonel? | - Colonel...
Did some work for Oxytech | back in the '30s...
brokered some leases for the oil rights. | Middleman stuff.
- Suit claimed he stole them. | - Stole them?
Those folks thought they were worthless, | couldn't give them away fast enough.
Now, you remember this.
The Colonel grew up out here.
Eight kids in a one-room shanty.
Raised himself up out of the swamp | with his own two hands...
for us, for the family. He did it for us.
There are people that will hate you | just for spite...
when you rise up in the world.
When Ray took his life, | I swore I'd try to be a good father to you.
He was innocent | and they hounded him to the grave.
And any man that tries to bring harm | to this house...
will be made to pay.
Now, you promise me, | you'll come to me if there's any trouble.
You promise me that.
The warnings | on the National Weather Service...
for all of South and Southeastern...
- Hello, Mother. | - Cray. What a nice surprise.
- Everything A-okay with you, sugar? | - Fine!
Here's an update.
The hurricane is coming North.
Have you seen this thing before?
That's yours truly doing the weather report.
Colonel owned the station then.
We had that dreadful hurricane.
People lost everything.
Terrible tragedy.
I had to stay on the air | for five hours straight.
Mother, do you know when he died...
did Dad have any papers...
or did he have a place...
that he kept things | he didn't want people to see?
He had...
special places.
Who is it?
Just come on up.
I'm sorry. You don't have to.
No, stay right there.
- I need an ambulance. | - No!
My father made tapes of us.
- What? | - My father made tapes of us together.
What the fuck are you talking about?
You father made tapes of us?
- Did you know about this? | - I came to warn you.
- What's your father's name? | - Xang.
- Xang? | - Someone paid him.
Who paid him?
- I don't know. I'm sorry. | - What do you want from me?
I have to leave the city.
You want to leave the city? | You want some cash?
- Where are the tapes? | - I have money in the studio.
At the studio? The tape's at the studio?
Please, I can't go back there alone.
They'll kill me.
- You have any candy? | - I do now.
Come on over here! Where are you?
Here, chuck your ass down here, baby.
You're gonna scream | like a goddamn stuck pig.
You don't have the key?
You like my daughter? | You fucked my daughter?
- Hello? | - How's my favorite candidate?
What? Cliff.
- Something wrong? | - No, nothing's wrong.
I got a message you called earlier.
What's up?
Do you happen to know what time | the factory tour is tomorrow?
It's 11:00, | and then we go over to the nursing home.
- Right. | - You didn't forget, did you?
No, I got the itinerary.
I'm sorry, I got a head like a screen door.
Sure you're all right? | You sound a little off your feet.
- No, I'm fine. | - Sure?
- I'm fine. | - Ikay, you get some rest now.
- Big day tomorrow. | - Yeah.
My wife can't wrestle, | but you ought to see her box!
What the hell is that smell?
Christ, I wish I'd known.
Still taking those three-hour lunches?
You know what's changed around here? | Exactly nothing.
- Come on back. | - Not the wallpaper, anyway.
God, I forgot how bright it was.
And look at you.
If I'd have known you'd go so far, | I'd have gone easier on you.
I was the worst lawyer | that ever worked for you.
Far from it.
Problem was, being who you were...
you had to work twice as hard, so people | wouldn't think you were standing still.
- I could've ordered you a sandwich. Here... | - No, I just wanted to see you.
Not getting nostalgic?
You ain't old enough.
Can I ask you about a case?
Lee, my name is Cray Fowler.
I'm your new lawyer. | I'll be defending you in this case.
You all right?
They treating you well?
You need anything?
What have you told them?
Your other attorney?
Anyone? Nothing at all?
Why are you doing this?
Why don't you tell me what happened?
I heard...
I saw him.
I saw you.
I thought you were dead.
I have the knife.
What knife?
You used a knife.
You think I killed him?
I didn't touch him.
Maybe I can't, maybe I can.
You'll just have to wait.
Thanks for letting me see this.
I have to call you back.
Was it helpful? | Maybe you shouldn't tell me that.
I shouldn't tell you that.
You've got a homicide on your calendar.
Which one?
Vietnamese girl, Lee Tran.
I noticed you drew the case.
Were you expecting a plea on that?
- There's been a discussion. | - Yeah.
Anyway, I'm taking the case, | and it's going to trial.
I didn't want you to hear it | from somebody else.
It isn't a personal thing, it just...
happens to be your case, that's all.
You haven't tried a criminal case | in three years.
- I got a lot of catching up to do. | - You'll lose.
This isn't a game. I don't fuck around.
Nobody knows that better then me.
See you later.
- Thanks for seeing me. | - What can I do for you?
I went up to the Mineral Rights Iffice...
and I thought you might be interested...
in what I came up with.
These names mean anything to you?
Any reason they should?
Those are the landowners | in the St. Albans Parish...
who made oil-lease deals | with Oxytech before the war.
They're probably friends of the Colonel.
Well, I checked the social register and...
I checked Oxytech's board of directors.
Checked the phone book, voter directory, | Nobody's heard of them.
I thought you might be interested.
I might be.
Another thing...
If you're agreeable...
I'd like to engage your services...
to assist me in defending a murder case.
I'm expensive.
I know that.
- Who's prosecuting? | - Natalie Tate.
Tell me about it. I used to live with her.
Come on, what's the joke? | This is a joke, right?
- No joke. | - Jesus Christ!
It's a hell of a time for a stunt like this. | I can't believe this.
Who are you shitting here? | Hollister's killing us.
Where do I pull the weakest, | demographically? You tell me.
Lower middle class, ethnic, blue-collar.
You know a better way of convincing | those folks I've got their interests at heart?
The best tradition | of enlightened aristocracy.
There I am in court...
representing an ethnic female, | who may be falsely accused of murder.
How much TV coverage time is that worth?
Lead story on the news, every night, | as long as the trial lasts.
A stroke is what it is.
- Stroke of genius. | - Yeah.
You think this up yourself?
Shocking, isn't it?
Nathan LaFleur is co-defending.
How about a Pimm's Cup, Cliff?
Nathan LaFleur.
That's good.
Wave it up there for me, baby.
That's great.
All right, you know what to do. | Lean forward now.
Grab on that. That's good.
Follow this where it leads you. | Focus on this fucker.
Stay in the middle of the chair.
Put your hands behind you. | That's right, baby.
That's the one. Sit back on the chair, honey.
Lean on the chair, that's it.
I have to go to the bathroom.
- Remember, I'm paying you by the hour. | - Yeah.
You've got five minutes.
What're you doing in my office?
I'm Cray Fowler. I'm representing Lee Tran.
Mr. Choate. | Did I pronounce your name correct?
Pronounce this, fucker. Take a fucking hike.
- I'm sorry, your door was open. | - Close it on your way out.
Get the fuck out of my studio.
Her name's Brandy.
I don't know this one, | I've never seen her before.
Walk around with it. There's $50 | for anyone who helps you find her.
What do I say if they ask | why I'm looking for her?
Make something up, tell them you're in love.
Do you mind me asking you something. | Why are you looking for trash like this?
That's a good question. I'll see you later.
- How about some quarters for the dryer? | - I just gave you $50.
I tried.
Is anybody there?
Let myself in downstairs.
What do you want?
I just...
want a drink.
Jesus, that's spooky.
She even looks like me.
She doesn't look a thing like you.
Join me?
Thought you were gonna replace that sofa.
No, you were gonna replace that sofa.
What's it all about?
It's not a campaign gimmick.
You're not that cynical. Not yet.
It's not a campaign gimmick.
Tell me you're not doing it to impress me.
Think I know what it takes to impress you?
So what does that leave?
A good deed?
Either that, or you're sleeping with her.
Anything you say can and will be used | against you in a court of law.
This isn't about us.
- I didn't think we were an us. | - We're not.
Thanks for clearing that up.
This must be some kind | of serious ethical violation.
I thought this kind of tactic | was beneath you.
Beneath you.
No, I'll be a lady.
I hope you're prepared to get | your butt kicked up one side of court...
and down the other.
Tell you what. I lose, you buy me dinner.
You already had your chance | to bargain, pal.
- Leave the key. | - It's on the bar.
Friends of the Democratic Party, | before we sit down to this fine meal...
which our celebrity chef assured me cost...
just short of the $1,500...
you all ponied up | to pay the parking lot attendants...
Cray's mother...
would like to lead us in giving thanks.
We ask your blessing...
for what we are about to receive.
May we be truly thankful...
for your bounty and your glory.
May we humbly seek your guidance...
your wisdom to guide us on a path | both straight and true...
and your strength to quicken our step | when our gait falters.
Use us well, Lord.
- Let us be the instruments... | - Amen!
If I had a nickel for every one of these | damn dinners I've had to endure...
Come to think of it, | I do have a nickel for every one.
Sometimes the worst part of politics | is convincing them...
that you're a part of the people.
Serving is one thing, socializing is another.
Looks like you've got more on your mind...
than the crushing weight | of social obligation.
You're worried about Hollister?
We should all worry about Hollister.
This is not patty-cake.
You're in the ring with a real bottom feeder.
What else do you know about him?
I know he's on the board of directors | at Oxytech.
And how is that of use to you?
The oil-lease case.
Are you suggesting he's involved with it?
I'm suggesting you should ask yourself | how is that of use to you.
I'll tell you something else.
Hollister had a command...
in Vietnam, Green Beret.
He came back, | there was a lot of loose talk around.
Atrocities and the like.
Is it true?
- That's not the point. | - You're suggesting we use it?
I'm suggesting you ask yourself...
how badly do you want this.
This is a decisive moment.
You are standing...
before a door to an ancient fraternity.
If you pass through...
and accept what this life has to offer...
you will not regret | the price you have to pay.
Let me tell you what I see.
I see...
two terms in Congress. Maybe three.
And then you will walk into the office | of the Governor of this state...
and take your place.
Your father's son.
A Fowler.
From a back bayou shanty...
to the seats of power in two generations.
And that may only be the beginning.
Cray, sit down.
Give Pudge a big hug.
My kids are such a mess.
I wish you were my boy | ever since you was a tadpole.
All my life I wondered | what the hell it is you do exactly.
- I am your uncle's LAT specialist. | - LAT specialist?
Yeah. You know, a bit of this, | a little bit of that.
What I do is, by the sheer power | of my personality...
I just make people feel smarter and | more important than they actually are.
That you'll find is your basic bottom line | in political service.
Watch it.
I was just thinking about you and Raymond.
And how he built the house | for that hummingbird just before he died.
Isn't this the most lovely party?
Folks think I'm an old gossip.
I'm not a gossip.
I am just an old historian.
You told me that somebody gave us | a copy of that tape. Hollister's commercial.
You said we had a friend in their camp.
Sensitive things.
You know I'd never say or do anything | that would compromise the situation.
You know the security guy, the cop...
Please don't tell him.
Our little secret.
I was just thinking about you and Raymond.
And how he built the house | for that hummingbird just before he died.
St. Albans Baptist Church.
Reverend, I spoke to you on the phone.
- I'm Cray Fowler. | - Yes, I know that.
- Maybe you'll be our next congressman. | - That would be my hope, sir.
This is a fine-looking place.
We have a small congregation.
Not much money, | but what there is built this here.
Not too often we get to see folks like you | down this way.
Do you happen to recall...
My father's name was Raymond.
- And this would've been a few years back. | - Yes.
Raymond Fowler. Yes.
He came to see me.
Wanted to know | about some of my parishioners.
Wanted to know if he could see them.
Were any of them the names listed here?
Yes, that's them.
Sons and daughters of slaves.
They were given small parcels of land | when they were made free.
These folks are second generation.
They worked all their lives to pay it off.
What about this one? Sumpter. C. Sumpter?
Catch you around here again, | you motherfucker, I'm gonna kill you.
Fuckin' punk.
I slept with her once. She came to tell me | her father had made a tape of us.
He'd beaten her up, | she wanted to leave town.
I went to look for the tape.
The father jumped me, knocked me out. | When I came to, he was dead, she was gone.
A few days ago, whoever hired Xang | sent me this copy of the tape.
Setting aside your shameless violation | of every known ethical standard...
you've also managed to drag me | out over the abyss.
Don't say you're not getting what you want | from this. It's disingenuous.
- And what would that be? | - A congressman.
You're a practical man, Nathan.
We need to find out whose fingerprints | are on this knife.
I think it's connected to the oil leases.
I don't know how yet.
But I think somebody | is trying to scare me off.
- Maybe Hollister. | - Hollister?
He's on the Oxytech's board of directors.
If he has a tape, why hasn't he used it?
I think he just did.
You said there's one name on that list | that hasn't been buried in that cemetery.
What time did you arrive | for work that night?
I came on at 10:00.
You have a good view of the entrance to | the Happy Dragon from your window, right?
Yeah, real good. Primo.
Did you see the defendant | enter or leave the building?
I didn't see her go in...
but I seen her come out about 11:45.
- And what was your impression of her? | - My impression of her?
My impression of her was she was in a hurry | because she was running.
Do you mind if I call you by your first name?
Demita Jo.
Did you see anyone enter | or leave the building after Lee had exited...
but before the police officers arrived?
I saw some guy leaving.
Can you describe him for me?
He was wearing a long coat, like a raincoat.
Was he short or tall?
I guess he was kind of short.
Did you see or hear anything from upstairs? | Any music?
Yes, some kind of loud music | from the porno joint.
That was just before Lee | came running out of there.
Mr. Choate, what did you hear | at approximately 11:30 that night?
I was doing my books. It was hot. | When it's hot I keep my door open.
I hear somebody coming up the stairs.
- Just one person? | - Yeah.
Then I hear argument, yelling and such.
Could you identify the voices?
It was Lee and her old man talking gook.
Is that when you decided to call the police?
I've got a right to some peace and quiet.
What happened then?
I hear a crash. Then it's quiet, | so I go upstairs to check it out.
I see this girl, Lee, | coming out of the other room.
Did she see you?
She saw me. | She took off like a bat out of hell.
Then I started thinking | something hinky was going around here.
Just an instinct?
I go downstairs and wait for the police. | They come, we go upstairs to check it out...
and that's when we find the old man.
Thank you, Mr. Choate.
How are you doing today?
- Okay. | - Good.
On the night of the murder, | when you first went upstairs...
did you notice anything about the door | to the studio?
It was open.
Did you notice the glass panel was broken, | and there was blood on it?
I noticed that.
You testified you were in your office | from 9:00 and heard voices from upstairs.
Why didn't you hear | the sound of the door panel being broken?
I don't know.
I had the music on.
That's right. Miss Johnson | said she heard it downstairs.
- You had it up pretty loud? | - Loud, yeah. I like it loud.
But not so loud | you couldn't hear an argument.
I cut it off by then.
- What time was that? | - 11:30.
Miss Johnson said she didn't hear | the music go off till about 11:45.
I don't recall exactly when I cut it off.
You play loud music often?
- While I work. | - You're a photographer?
What do you specialize in, | what kind of photos?
Graduation pictures, baby portraits?
I do art studies.
- Nude art studies. | - Art studies with models?
Well, they sure as hell ain't self-portraits.
Let me get this straight. | You were alone, doing your books...
and to help you concentrate, | listening to loud rock 'n' roll...
which you play during a photo session...
but not so loud that you can't hear | someone creeping up the stairs.
Not so loud that you can't hear an argument, | and determine it's in Vietnamese.
Then you call the police | to complain about it...
because you wanted some peace and quiet? | Have I got that right?
Is there a law against playing music?
There isn't. There is a law | against giving false testimony under oath.
- Objection. Harassing the witness. | - Just another question.
Were you alone that night?
Who did Miss Johnson see | leaving the building that night?
Short, wearing a raincoat.
Doesn't sound like you, does it?
Thank you, you've been very helpful.
No further questions.
Court will recess for the day.
You better come with me. | That's my cousin, Thaddeus.
Thought you might feel a little safer | if he drives.
In exchange for their property deeds, | the people on that list...
signed away their rights to the oil revenue.
They didn't know what they were signing.
They got some money for it. | Just enough to keep them quiet.
That's how it worked.
How are you doing?
He's back this way.
- How are you doing this evening? | - How are you doing?
Charlie's waiting for you inside.
- Mr. Sumpter? | - Come on in.
Brought someone to talk to you.
This is Cray Fowler.
- How do you do, Mr. Sumpter. | - Pleased to meet you.
Excuse my eyes, they ain't no good.
Do you know you're a very wealthy man?
I get money every month.
What money is that?
Comes in an envelope.
$300 cash.
Started out in September.
- What did you do before you retired? | - I was a hunting guide.
Had to stop when my eyes went bad.
Do you know who sends you the money?
I don't know.
If somebody took $300 | and put it in your mailbox every month...
what would you question them for?
Can you remember back when | you first started to get the money?
Someone came to see you. He asked you | to sign something, a piece of paper.
A young fellow, he was white.
Said he was from the bank.
- Took him hunting once or twice. | - You remember his name?
He never did say.
Did he tell you what you were signing?
He said it was the deed to my property.
He also said I owned it now, free and clear.
Do you think you'd recognize him | if you saw him today?
I can barely see my TV.
Thank you.
It's funny...
a man came and asked | those same questions three years ago.
What was his name?
Let's see.
I think it was Raymond.
That's it. Raymond.
Thank you.
Prosecution calls Lt. Michael Trevallian.
I hate you.
Would you describe for us the events | leading to the defendant's arrest?
Yes, ma'am.
When I arrived on the scene, | Mr. Choate showed me upstairs...
at which time I looked through the door | and saw the victim's body.
I ascertained the facts, | and issued an all points bulletin for...
the defendant.
Did you request that the defendant | be brought to the scene for questioning?
She was apprehended at the train station | and was brought there within the hour.
What did the defendant say | when you took her into the room...
where her father's body was lying?
She said, "I'm responsible." | She said this three times.
Not in response to any question. | This was something she volunteered?
She said it three times.
Your witness.
According to your precinct's ledger, | you were off duty...
at the time Mr. Choate's complaint | was registered.
I was driving on my way home.
I had the radio on. | It just so happened I picked up the call.
As a homicide detective, | do you make a habit...
of answering routine | disturbing the peace calls?
No, but I happened to be in the vicinity.
And I am a police officer, on or off duty.
Your dispatcher didn't tell you | another unit was handling it?
I did not talk to the dispatcher. | I just took the call.
- Are you familiar with the deceased? | - No, I was not.
Had you ever been in the Happy Dragon | Martial Arts Studio before that night?
I've never seen a happy dragon.
According to the report, no fingerprints | were taken from the murder scene.
Wasn't called for.
Isn't that somewhat irregular | in a murder investigation?
We had a suspect in custody | placed at the scene by witnesses...
who spontaneously confessed to the crime.
Confessed? Did she say, "I killed him"?
She said, "I'm responsible."
Did she say "I killed him" | in so many words?
She didn't say "I killed him" | in so many words.
To say she was responsible | could be interpreted in many ways.
That was my conclusion.
The studio was broken into, | there was blood on the door...
belonging to neither the victim | nor the accused.
Miss Johnson testified she saw a man | leave after the defendant...
yet you felt no need to investigate because | the person arrested said "I'm responsible."
An investigation was initiated.
Nothing conclusive was discovered.
Someone else was up there that night, | weren't they?
I saw no evidence of that.
But you got to realize...
that a crime of this nature | among these people...
is not uncommon.
- Which people would those be? | - The Vietnamese.
I understand you served in Vietnam.
That must be the source | of your cultural expertise.
Marines, wasn't it?
Green Beret.
Who was your commanding officer | in Vietnam?
Objection. Not relevant.
- Mr. Fowler? | - Maybe, maybe not.
Answer the question, please.
Major Hollister.
Major Avner Hollister, | seated in this courtroom today?
You're right.
You got that right.
No further questions.
You may stand down.
Court will recess until 9:00 | tomorrow morning...
at which time | the defense will present its case.
Hell of a job, Cray. Damned impressive.
Now we've pulled up to Hollister | neck and neck.
That little hit you gave him in there | didn't hurt us, either.
I checked their service records. | No mention of atrocities.
Not a hint.
- We won't even have to play that card. | - No, we don't.
You believe that cop?
Tough nut. | In my book, you got the better of him.
That's right, you know him, | don't you? Trevallian?
Never met the man.
- How are you, Clifford? | - Hey, how you doing?
We have a friend in his camp.
You know the security guy, the cop...
Here's something you all don't get, | you gotta give it up.
Don't be an asshole. | Somebody's liable to get hurt.
- Are you threatening me? | - No, that's a promise.
You've been up on charges three times. | Going for four?
You know what your problem is? | You don't know who your friends are.
- Nice work. | - You like that?
When you grow up, | I'm gonna get you one of these.
I'm gonna tattoo this | on your ass personally.
- Is that a promise? | - Fuck your mama.
- Where were you born, Lee? | - Saigon, Vietnam.
- How long have you lived in this country? | - Sixteen years. I'm an American citizen.
- You lived with your father all this time? | - Yes, my mother was killed in the war.
What did your father do in Saigon?
He was a major | in the South Vietnamese Army.
Your father owned | the Happy Dragon Martial Arts Studio.
- Is that correct? | - Yes.
- You were employed there as an instructor? | - Yes.
Did you father ever use the studio | for any other purpose?
Would you tell us how.
My father would bring men to the studio.
I'd have sex with them, | and they'd pay my father.
Did you resist this in any way?
- At first. | - What happened when you resisted?
If I refused, he'd beat me.
- When did this start? | - Six years ago.
- And how old were you then? | - 14.
In all the times that your father beat you...
did you ever strike him back | or offer resistance in any way?
No, never. I was afraid of him.
Did you kill your father?
I wanted to.
Many times.
No, I didn't kill my father.
Thank you.
Your witness.
Your father was killed | between 11:00 and 12:30.
Isn't it true you entered the building | where he died...
- and were seen there during that time? | - Yes.
Your father prostituted you.
He beat you brutally | when you refused to cooperate.
- Did he beat you on the night of the murder? | - Yes.
Because you would no longer agree | to prostitute yourself, was that it?
Now, you've told us here | that you wanted to kill your father.
Isn't it also true | that you told Detective Trevallian...
that you were responsible | for your father's death?
If you didn't kill your father yourself, | in what way were you responsible?
He sold you to strangers | when you were a child...
he brutalized you, he humiliated you.
Isn't it true that on that night...
you simply could not tolerate | his treatment of you any longer?
Isn't it true that after all those years | of violence and abuse...
you raised your hand this one time...
to strike back | against all the pain he caused you?
Answer the question.
- Answer the question. | - May I approach, Your Honor?
- What the hell are you doing? | - I just want to talk to the judge.
What the hell are you doing?
- I'm in the middle of a cross-examination. | - In chambers.
- Somebody want to let me in on the joke? | - I need a recess to bring in a witness.
You don't want your client | exposed to questions...
don't put her on the stand.
I got to move on this right now | or I'll lose this witness.
Son, you better make good.
- This is fucking outrageous! | - Go to lunch, have a drink.
So I had to take the bus over there...
because my sister, | when she's on her medication...
they don't let her drive no more, | and she's got my car.
So I got my car, and my mama, well...
She's not doing so well, | so I had to stay and see her for a while.
- I'm not boring you, am I? | - No.
I wanted to put her away, | my mama wouldn't hear of it.
If you ask me, | they should've put her away some time ago.
She used to go with this sailor. | He don't even call no more.
I'd like you to meet two friends of mine.
- Hi, how y'all doing? | - Fine, how are you doing?
- I'm okay. | - Good.
I got a few questions I wanna ask you. | Can we go someplace?
I'm afraid I don't have much time.
I just came back to get my things | from Mississippi.
I was telling Theotis | I'm moving to California...
- but I've got a little time, if you like. | - Good.
California. He ought to fit right in there.
Miss, I'll remind you you're still under oath.
- Redirect, Your Honor. | - Proceed.
When you went to the studio that night...
did you see anyone else in the building?
- I saw Mr. Choate, his door was open. | - Was he with anyone?
Yes, he was photographing someone, | a woman with dark hair.
- You see that person in the courtroom now? | - Yes.
- Would you point that person out to me? | - The woman by the aisle in the front row.
- Thank you. | - You may stand down, miss.
Thank you.
The defense calls Mr. Thomas Plunkett | to the stand.
Swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, | and nothing but the truth.
I do.
Please state your name and occupation.
Thomas Plunkett, photographic model.
Were you being photographed | by Abe Choate in the studio...
on the night that Xang was killed?
- Yes, sir. | - Tell us in your own words what happened.
Abe and me was working. | We heard this crash upstairs.
A minute later, Lee there, | she comes running down the stairs.
Abe... Mr. Choate...
he comes back and tells me to wait inside, | and he went out and talked to somebody.
Who did he talk to in the hall, | could you see them?
Was it someone in this courtroom?
The policeman sitting back there.
Record will reflect the witness identified | Lt. Michael Trevallian.
Was this before or after | Mr. Choate had called the police...
to report a disturbance of the peace?
Before. The policeman, he went upstairs...
and Abe came back in | and that's when he called the police.
What did they do then?
Gave me $300 | and told me to get out of town for a while.
I got my butt back to Biloxi.
Mr. Plunkett, does this knife | look familiar to you?
It looks like the one | that belonged to Mr. Choate.
Did you see a knife that looked like that | the night that Xang was killed?
Yes, sir.
I saw Mr. Choate give a knife like that | to the policeman...
just before he went upstairs.
You rotten, dirty little | fairy fucking cocksucker!
Hollister's withdrawn from the race.
Nothing solid connects him | to what Trevallian had going...
but as they say, | there's a mighty big turd in the punch bowl.
Shit, did you... Is my wife out there?
- You wanna see her? | - No.
- Natalie been around? | - No.
Hollister never showed anybody the tape.
If he doesn't have it, who does?
What had been anticipated...
as one of the most closely contested local | Congressional races in recent memory...
has come to a swift | and stunning conclusion tonight.
Based on our exit polls, with just | three percent of the precincts reporting...
we are projecting a victory | in the 8th Congressional District...
for Democrat, Cray Fowler.
With the withdrawal | of Republican candidate, Avner Hollister...
We won! | We're going to Washington, Uncle Clifford.
Congratulations, Pete.
- We better get downtown. Where's Cray? | - I don't know.
We'll get the car, tell him | we'll meet him out front. Come on.
We're going to Washington.
- Can I speak to you for a second? | - Where's Cray?
- I don't know. Come on in here. | - I have to go and get my purse.
- Come on in here. | - We're going to be late.
It's okay.
All aspects of the prenuptial agreement | will remain in effect.
Alimony payments will continue | with the higher figure listed here...
for a period of not less than five years...
unless you remarry, | at which point all payments will cease.
What should I do?
Sugar, I've seen the pictures. Take the deal.
- Did we win? | - Yes, we did.
I was going through Dad's papers | and I saved this for you.
What a fuss we had.
My father said, "Girl, you haven't got | half sense marrying that boy.
"We don't mix with Baptist trash, | and I don't like his daddy."
I had 12 beaus that summer.
Could have had my choice | to marry any which one.
What made you choose to marry my father?
Clifford was so...
I didn't ask you about Clifford, | I asked you about Raymond.
I spoke to him about the spirit | here at the Ursulines.
I'd almost decided | to take my vows that spring.
You were pregnant.
Well, there he is! There's my boy!
What a night.
Lord, what a great night.
All so proud of you.
You guys here all by your lonesome?
Working on your victory speech.
No, you were right. | Better to just speak from the heart.
Why, hell, Cray, | you don't even look like you're drunk yet.
Thank you, you can leave us.
- Okay? | - Thank you.
Turns out we didn't need | his support after all.
Hope we didn't give away the farm.
I remember you trying to explain to me | why life was different here.
You said...
the difference is, down here...
the past isn't dead.
It isn't even past.
Did I?
- I can sure turn a phrase. | - I thought about that for a long time.
I'll drink to that.
I want to speak openly and directly to you, | and I trust you'll do the same.
- Son, I hope we can always... | - I want the tape.
A tape was made for you, | and I want you to give it to me.
- You don't understand... | - Don't bullshit me.
You hired a blackmailer | to get a tape on me...
like I'm some bootlicking ward heel.
I'm your goddamned family.
I wasn't gonna use it like that.
You already used it.
Go on, get it now.
What happened, see, | things got out of hand.
The Chinaman got too big for his britches | and he turned on us.
Became a danger to you.
So you had him killed.
You had to turn around and defend that girl.
I mean, how could | I know you'd do a thing like that?
A man was killed.
You think I'm gonna stand by | and let some piece of garbage...
ruin your life?
I was trying to protect you.
That cop was gonna walk you out of there | that night.
No one would have known.
You'd have been taken care of | and you had to run off.
I know this sounds crazy...
but the way you handled this...
the way it turned out for you...
it's almost the best thing | that could have happened to you.
I'd give up my life...
This is good.
This is good for us.
We just have to deal with this, | put it all behind us.
I have an appointment | with the State Attorney...
I'm gonna ask him | to reopen the investigation...
into the mineral rights in St. Albans Parish.
The investigation that my father | was cooperating with.
And when they conclude, and they will...
that there has been | a clandestine and elaborate scheme...
to defraud the people of this parish...
our family will make reparations | down to the last nickel.
The investigation will proceed | with the full cooperation...
of every member of this family.
I am your father.
You killed my father, you son of a bitch.
You took him out and you shot him | like an animal.
The past isn't dead.