The Porter (2022) s01e02 Episode Script

Episode 2

I'll go broke when they find out that I'm supplying a smuggler.
Fifty bottles a run, grown-up money.
Maybe it's time we get in the union then.
Ice needs a reload now! The CCR handbook's firm on that being a six man job, sir.
Henry! The association's gonna have to step up And cover his funeral costs.
Our resources are stretched thin as it is.
There's nothing wrong with my boy.
Spoke to the big boss, I think he knows about Kinmel.
I don't want that kind of girl.
I want to know what kind of girl you are.
You think I'm out front Just because I'm cream and you're coffee.
Unions are not based upon race lines But upon class lines.
I'm sorry, Junior.
They're getting closer, man.
They're getting closer.
Mo! Eeny.
This is what you do when a man gets the better of you, huh? That's that neanderthal brain takin' over.
Hey! Either help me or shut the fuck up! He dead now.
Porter man, You and your booze breaking hustle's been nothing but a bother to me.
You see, when you fish in my water Mr.
Massey, It's money outta my pocket.
Now it's time to pay up.
My apologies for the burden.
My wife packs for every improbable possibility.
Randolph, uh, Zeke Garrett.
I saw you speak last night And under normal circumstances I'd be only too happy to chew the fat, as it were.
But after that warm welcome from your police, getting back to Harlem holds a certain urgency.
Randolph, please.
We lost a good man last week doing working he wasn't meant to do.
Now these porters are the only family I got.
You've been fighting for workers longer than anyone.
I I don't even know where to start.
Start by asking a question.
If I wanna get the porters into a union that purposely excludes them, What's the first thing I should do? The great fear of the white worker, is that our elevation means their elimination.
Management feeds this fear to keep them blind to the power of a unified workforce.
Find an ally on the other side, but no small players.
Always go for the head.
Zeke! Junior didn't come home.
What you mean? The last time I saw him was at the funeral.
That's all right.
Dinger probably put him on another run.
You know he always gets word to me if he's not gonna get home.
Now if Junior was in a fix, don't you think I'd know about it? I'm guessing it's a short run to Toronto.
Should be back in about two hours.
I'm sure he's okay, Marlene.
Forgive the formality.
I have strict rules about bleeding on the furniture.
Do you know who I am? I know you're in charge.
Do you drink, porter? Or do you just fix them for important white folks? I'd say I have a talent for both.
Then I'll take a gin rickey.
I'm not sure how I should address you.
Miss Queenie would be wise.
Do you know how many women there are in my position? Capone and Nitti run their whores and hooch, but know to keep to their side of the street.
So when an upstart porter comes smuggling booze without my say so, well, you can imagine the problem that creates for me.
Of course you can't.
Men put a few holes in the lid and think they do the trapped pretty things a favour.
Miss Queenie, I had no idea any of this was touching your territory.
And now you do.
Which means the only business that remains is how you plan to make this right.
Take out some for your tax.
And a little extra for the trouble.
Queenie: Believe it or not, porter, booze comes cheap around here.
Disrespect, now that's what costs.
This one in particular will take another three hundred.
Miss Queenie, I barely cleared a hundred.
How am I supposed to clear three? Nothing harder than easy money.
Queenie: Bobby and I are distant relatives.
So for the sake of family relations, we'll work his debt out in time.
You, however, have one week.
The particulars are not my problem.
I'm so sorry about this, Jun, I never thought she would find out.
But that woman got eyes in the back of her head, on the side, I don't know where else, but them all evil.
But that don't mean our arrangement's gotta end Fuck you, Bobby! Fuck you.
It's not enough I have my own work to do, you're always sneaking out and leaving me yours? Madame Nadeau hired two maids, not one.
I'm sorry, mama.
It's okay, baby, it's okay.
Popsy called rehearsal last minute.
It's okay precious, enough fussing.
We don't wanna wake your mama.
She needs her rest.
From what? She never lifts a finger.
You oughta kiss the ground that woman walk on taking in an alleycat like you.
Black as coal and half as smart.
Do you think you can just shake and shimmer your way into something? Life don't work that way, Lucinda.
Well there's no harm in trying is there? Well sometimes harm and opportunity look like the same thing.
Believe you me, I know.
Who's my beautiful baby? Yes, you are.
Come here.
And third, You do not speak to Mr.
Johnson unless you are spoken to.
The man writes hits in his head every hour of every single day.
You mess with that, you cost him money.
You cost him money, you cost me money.
And if you cost me money, well, then your ass is out that door.
You understand me? Good.
Let's get to work.
Come on! Who's this Johnson? Willie Johnson.
Top sax man outta New Orleans, played with Henderson and everything.
Got a review heading 'cross country.
Rumour is he's looking for a dancer to go along.
Well, consider me gone.
Be very careful what you wish for.
Going somewhere? Yeah, on a rescue mission to save your dumb ass.
Hey Junior, what the hell is goin' on? I'm here trying to fix things with the CCR so we don't lose another brother, and here you come I need your help, Zeke.
With what exactly? Just help me now and ask me later, alright? Come on.
Let's get you home.
I know.
I made you worry.
I run into a likkle trouble on a run, but it's all under control now.
Don't you dare slick talk me like I'm some stranger.
I'm your wife Junior, I'm owed the truth.
Had some business in Chicago that went sideways.
Sideways how? The day you got on your knees and asked me to marry you, I said "yes" on three conditions.
That you would never do anything to make me hang my head before my God, my child or my community.
And I haven't, I swear.
Well I guess everything's alright then.
So what fancy-pantsy railroad job you got anyhow? Does that matter to you? What my title is? Honestly, I could care less.
Senior Executive.
Plain and simple.
Franklin Edwards, Senior Executive of CC Rail.
You know, when I'm with you, I feel like I could be just about anything.
Sir, my name is Zeke Garrett.
I'm a sleeping car porter with the CCR.
I was just wondering if I could have a minute of your time, sir.
Sorry son, I got a meeting.
Moschel! Hey! I just want a word with the head of the union.
- Alright then.
- Let's go! Nice watch.
I saw one like that in New York.
Actually, my husband won it for me in a card game.
So he's a gambler.
I didn't realize we were here to discuss my jewelry.
Let me be frank, sister Massey.
You stole money from our coffers.
One has to wonder if this chapter's low collection numbers aren't a sign of something else at work.
I diverted money towards Henry's funeral.
If you require my resignation I understand.
But if you're looking at those numbers as closely as I suspect, I think you'll find that Gwen and I tend to bring in the Lion's share.
Well, it's no wonder my predecessor gave you the run of things.
Clearly, I've been squandering your fundraising talents.
Hey, Marlene.
- Hey, Winchester.
- How you doing? Good, I was hoping to catch Gwen.
Gwen! Are you two trying again? Winn, what are you hollerin' for? You know, I gotta get down to the hardware store.
Be nice.
She did it for Henry.
See ya, Mar.
Eli is pulling us off our regular route.
He seems to think that we can do just as well on De Bullion Street.
De Bullion Street? You had no right taking those collections! After everything the UNIA has done for this community, the library, the scholarships.
And last month Eli sent our collections to head office for the defence fund.
How come he gets to decide what we put our money to? Because he's the man brother Garvey put in charge here! You need to apologize to him, Marlene.
We've worked too hard for you to put pride before position.
I am not gonna apologize to that man for doing right by Henry.
Studebaker's up four and a quarter.
We got a bank drop in Detroit? No cash, Jesse James, strictly bonds and bookkeepin'.
If a fellah were to liberate some of those bonds, how fast could you cash 'em out? Pretty quick.
I got a man in No, no, no, now that ain't gonna work.
Dinger logs the bags in his book.
He changes the combination to his safe every week too.
Why don't y'all let me worry about that.
I just need your help getting that book.
It's goin' be aight.
- Oh! - I'm so sorry! Son of a What's that stench? Oh, that's pu'erh tea.
Private car guests, they insist upon it.
I'm so sorry, sir.
No need to worry, sir.
I got a few tricks that'll have you smellin' like roses in no time.
But in the meantime, I'll see if I can find you another jacket, ah, 42 regular if I'm not mistaken.
Got 'em.
Your paper, sir.
Nine, 37, 12, 42, shit, what's the last number? 12, 42, 12, 42, 9, 37, 12, 42.
9, 37, 12, 42.
Miller's jacket needs a quick cleaning up.
This company give you a different rule book than the rest of us? Because mine says niggers aren't allowed in this kitchen.
Can't move unless your feet do.
Took me long enough to break you in, I'm too old and tired to start over with someone else.
Excuse me.
Excuse me.
Can I interest you in donating to the United Negro Improvement Association? Marlene.
Marlene! We need to get out of here.
None of these folks are gonna donate to anything besides their own vices.
I am not gonna give Eli the satisfaction of knowing his punishment worked.
When this is full, I'll leave.
Shit, is it Sunday already? Who let these preachers in? Hi, my is Marlene, I am with United Negro Improvement Association.
Could I interest you in donating to uplift our lives and our community, miss, miss, uh It's Fayanna.
And my community ain't in Africa.
Whores got brains too.
So when I hear somebody trying to sell me on a better life across the ocean, or in glory, I gotta ask myself, what is so bad about the life they've got, hm? You alright? Mais oui, Marlene.
I'd be a lot better if it wasn't so goddamn hot in here all the time but, I'm mighty fine.
There she is! Uh-oh! Hold the horses! Fay: How is my Boston baby? Well I'm good, much better now.
Oh, the door is open.
The door is open! Yeah, it is! Get your butt up there! Naughty, naughty! Alright! Okay, buh-bye, Marlene and? Gwen, Gwendolyn.
Gwendolyn, oh.
See y'all! - C'mon.
- I'm gonna kick your ass! You think it's hot in here? Hot? I can barely feel my fingers.
Let's just go.
Oh shit! Almost done Mr.
Just a little fraying on some of these stitches here.
I gotta get out there.
I have a schedule to keep and you have passengers to wait on.
Well, that's true.
Now I just thought, well, if Mr.
Edwards pays you another surprise visit, I'd hate for anything to be out of place, sir.
Miller! You've gotta get everyone off this train! Everyone off the train? What are you doing on the damn train? The water tank's on empty.
If we don't refill now the engine's gonna blow.
What the hell are you standing there for? Back it up to the tower and fill up the fucking tank! We're a man short, Everyone's still on break.
Well, tell me what you need.
Ladies and gentlemen, We apologize for the inconvenience.
We will have you back on the train shortly.
Coal's loaded up, but we ain't outta the woods yet.
That boiler's still hotter than hell! How'd that valve get opened anyway? This look like a good time for questions to you? Garrett, five minutes till boarding! Sir, I-I don't think we can go ahead Five minutes! Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your patience.
Please take your seats.
Come on! Ladies and gentlemen, Thank you for your patience.
We will be on our way shortly.
Oh yeah, baby.
Double shot to the brother who always remains cool.
Double shot for you.
Wha'happen, you don't like rum? Come on, man, let's get you a drink.
Come here.
Are you crazy? You asked me to help you get Dinger's notebook, Next thing I know you're nearly blowin' up the damn train! I think we at the point where you tell me what the hell is going on, Junior.
Remember that summer cops rode the trains to Chicago? They were pullin' more bodies out the river than fish and there was that woman, never saw a day in jail for any of them.
Hold on, you owe that money to the queen? Well, she prefers Queenie.
And I promise I didn't know what was goin' on till I knew what was goin' on.
Truth is, sometimes you pull the tail, you get the whole head.
My man.
Wait! All right.
Did you hear somebody ring a bell, porter? I just thought we should celebrate.
Celebrate what? Well I guess Moschel was waiting till your next meeting to let y'all know.
He's making a motion to vote us into the union.
Boy, I sure am looking forward to working in that kitchen with you fellas.
Especially you.
Come here! Wha'happen? You good? - Hey, hey! - Okay, okay, okay.
You sure you wanna do that, huh? All right.
Come on, man, we all friends, right? Aight, come on.
Cross that line again and we'll kill you, you hear me? See you at the next meetin'! You wanna tell me what the hell that was all about?! Well, it's like you just said: sometime you gotta pull the tail to get the head.
Come on, man, that boy crazy! Somebody get this boy a drink! Come on! - Yes, sir.
- Gimme a toast! Give me a little something of that! Porters! Porters! You fucking liar! I know you fucking did it! I know you fucking did it! Franklin! Franklin, what's going Lance! Lance! Lance, let go of him.
Better keep a hold of that fool, Lance.
You think my father won't hear about this? Think he won't shut this shit hole down? You call whoever you want.
But boy, he better get here quick.
Hey hey, what the hell did you do? I won that last hand.
The only reason they're trying to cheat me is because of my - Cheat you? - Yeah, you fucking cheat! No, no, no, no, no! These people, they hear that I'm an Edwards and they think that I'm their ticket.
I'll get him outta your hair, Popsy.
Just, just let me take care of it.
Show starts in less than an hour.
I'll make curtain.
Besides, I can do Corrine's set in my sleep.
Come on, come on.
And don't forget where you at, daddy's boy.
What's the number? Zero.
See that red line? It's a bank mark for disposal and it's on every bond we got.
What's that mean, Glenford? Means we can get more for that barrel than all the bonds in your hand.
Almost blew up the goddamn train for this.
I'm sorry, Junior.
So what now, Jun? The bonds may be useless but the numbers aren't.
Here is king of the Crescent City, Willie Johnson! Changed the routine, bitch.
Don't go messin' up those nails, frisky.
I'll use my feet.
Like that, huh? So, what should we discuss of his majesty Marcus Garvey today? His failed back to Africa scheme? Or the folly of his theology I think you're a diabetic.
What? I've been doing some reading and it seems to fit all of the symptoms.
- What symptoms? - Your profuse sweating I sweat.
I'm enthusiastic in my work.
How about how you get dizzy going up the stairs, the way you drink water like you're dying of thirst? I grow some herbs at home to dry and boil.
Seems to help steady some of the symptoms.
Drink a cup three times a day.
If you start to feel some relief then we know that we're barking up the right tree.
I'll check on you in a few days.
Sure you will.
Until next time.
You and I need a word.
I thought we might.
You wanna tell me why you started a riot with my men on some bullshit story? Everybody feels the way the wind's blowin' out there.
Phone operators walked off the job.
Drivers, now firemen.
And? We have nearly 250 sleeping car porters in Montreal alone.
If we were one union, how could this railway do anything less than answer our every demand? I see your point, I just don't see how it involves me.
Well, you're head of the union.
But I didn't write the charter.
And the union charter says whites only.
Can't you change it? Look, don't you think I'm tired of Edwards pinching pennies so hard it cuts our circulation? But understand something, uh Zeke.
All your little stunt did was rile up workers who can't do anything for you.
You have to go to the Labour Board in Ottawa.
They're the ones with the sway to change things for everybody.
If I did that, went to Ottawa, I'd have your backing? If you can get the charter changed, then we can talk backing.
That don't look much like three hundred dollars, now does it? Just look like gambling numbers to me.
What if I could make you more than I owe? Thanks, but I've got my own numbers game.
Now if you wanna put yours in for the next draw You can bring bettors in by the hundreds, but I can bring 'em in by the thousands.
Not in Montreal you can't.
I'm not talkin' about a city.
I'm talking about an entire network that plays both sides of the borders.
Let me use the trains to run numbers for you.
I'll triple your payback inside a month.
Nothing permanent, just a likkle pay and part ways.
You think I need a partner? I think you need a man that knows every vein of them trains.
And, I think if I gotta spend the rest of my life bowing and smiling people rather spit in my face than see me as human, then killing me would be a kindness.
And what would you do if you were in my position, Mr.
Massey? If I had what you got, I'd buy my son a piano so he wouldn't have to play on a piece of wood.
Hustler with a heart of gold, huh? What's a heart if it's not for your family? We can have anatomy lesson another time, today it's economics.
- Three hundred dollars today - I don't have it today.
I'm pretty sure I won't have it tomorrow.
So if you ain't ready to take this number What makes you think that you'd even make it to tomorrow? Get out.
Okay, you know, I gotta go stretch.
Oh, me too, hold up.
I can't find my headband! Girl, how you always losing everything? What do you think? Good enough to go on the road with you and Willie? I ain't going nowhere, Franklin.
He chose Corrine.
What? Why? Why wouldn't he? She changed the routine while I was off dealing with your fit.
I looked like a damn fool! I'm sorry, alright.
You need to leave, Mr.
Senior Executive.
Lucy, I I could get you a headlining gig.
Then maybe you can snap your fingers and make me blonde with blue eyes.
I'm being serious.
Alright, I have some friends, some old friends from prep school.
They hold a salon every few weeks, it brings some very important people to town.
I can make some inquiries.
I-I wouldn't lie about something like this, Lucy-Mae! This-this opportunity was made for you.
Well, it would be the first thing in life that was.
Look, you should go.
Popsy sees you here, I'm fired.
Lance sees you here, you're dead.
I'll see you soon.
Shh, shh, shh, shh, shh.
Eeny, meeny, miny, mo! Catch a nigger by the toe! If he hollers make him pay twenty dollars every day.
Eeny, meeny, miny, mo! Is that someone at the door? Shh! Hey.
Junior, how on earth can we afford a piano? It's a sideways situation gone straight.
Come on, baby, the boy's got talent.
We can't just let it go to waste.
Come on, Teddy, let's go make some space for your new piano.

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