Poor Trait of a Killer (2013) Script

Poor Trait of a Killer

Cold Open: Interior. B&W slow pull from two bodies on the ground. There is a young man in a white shirt face down in a large pool of blood. Two policemen (officers) are investigating the scene.

Max (Voiceover): How did it come to this?   Laying face down in a puddle of blood, surrounded by cops.

Opening Credits

Exterior. A city street. Walking along an empty sidewalk between a parking garage and apartment complexes is Max. He is wearing a white button up shirt that is wide open with a black tee shirt underneath. His hair is disheveled and he has several weeks’ growth on his face. He walks with no real purpose, yet keeps a steady pace. He narrates his thoughts to himself.

Max: (Interior Monologue) It’s been centuries since the Treaty of Detroit ended the Vagrant Wars. Since then the oppressive World Government has had the populace under its thumb. It has lobotomized the people with constant entertainment. Peace is now and ever since, but... at what cost? The world is dull, boring, predictable. I thought it would make for the perfect opportunity for me to leave my mark on this world, but as each day passes it seems less and less likely that I will leave an impression on history. I’ve killed several of the hideous creatures that live in the sewers, but my efforts go largely unnoticed… ( a brief pause) I just want to be remembered. I couldn’t tell you who the 7th president of Mars was, but John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer. These are the names that survived even the war! These are the names that are remembered still. Maybe my name can join that pantheon, but I’m losing my faith. It doesn’t seem possible.

Max reaches his destination. A city apartment building. He enters a door on the ground level.

Interior. Max's apartment. Max enters looking exasperated. He plops down on the couch next to his roommate who is reading a book. His roommate is generally well kept. He is blonde and clean shaven. He is nonchalant in his attempts to be viewed as cool. Max sighs heavily. His roommate takes no notice. Max sighs again. Louder. Clearly seeking attention.

Roommate: (Not looking up from his book) S’wrong?

Max: (huffily) Nothing.

Roommate: Alright. You know that rent is due next week?

Max: (Ignoring roommate's comment) It's just that I feel like I'll never actually become a famous killer, y'know"? I'm doomed to obscurity forever.

Roommate: Can't give up on your dreams that easy. How hard can it be to kill someone?

Max: I've been trying to kill you for months! I just can't do it.

Roommate: (Feigning being flattered) aww. How sweet.

Max: No, I mean I literally can't do it. I've tried like a hundred times.

Roommate: Really? I hadn't even noticed.

Flashback to various murder attempts, each failing comically, each progressively more absurd. An attempted stabbing resulting in a sliced sandwich, an attempted poisoning of cereal thwarted by roommates distaste of and accidental use of soy milk resulting in him throwing it out. Gunshot missing as roommate ducks down to grab a quarter. Banana peel on stairs avoided when roommate gets email that class is cancelled.

Flash forward back to apartment. The roommate looks up from his book briefly in recollection and shakes his head.

Roommate: (chuckling) Man, you really are bad at this.

Max: Don't remind me. (sighs). Maybe I should just give up and be an astronaut like my dad or a ghost hunter like those assholes on tv or a cab driver or something.

Roommate: Come on man. You can still live your dream. You just need to rethink your strategy a little. Plan things out. Pick a victim, kidnap him, kill him, and then get rid of the body.

Max: (nodding head) Yeah. Yeah! I can do this.

Roommate: (as scene fades) By the way, you should probably get some gloves or something to hide your fingerprints.

Scene: Interior. A café. The scene is viewed from Max’s perspective. Several people are seated at various tables. None pay much mind as Max enters. A woman is sitting at a table with a large briefcase. She is dressed sharply and has her hair greased back. She wears a hollow smile. Although she is poised and polished, she gives off the false warmth of a used car salesman. Max makes his way over and sits down. The camera pulls out from Max’s perspective to a view of both Max and the slick woman at the table.

Kate: (Enthusiastically) Hi! You must be Max. You're here to buy some gloves?

Max: That's right. I need a good pair of gloves. Ones that don't cut down on my manual dexterity and won't leave any evidence behind... (backpedaling) for my garden. Also I'm allergic to cotton, leather, polyester, and latex.

Kate: (Opening her case and removing a pair of gloves) Why don't you try these on.

Contained inside the case are a pair of fingerless gloves made in the style of an animal's face. They are clearly made for children. Max tries on the gloves and imitates several violent gestures, bludgeoning, stabbing, and strangling. Kate pulls back in surprise. Her eyes widen as she tries to process what she is witnessing.

Kate: It seems as if you like them. They are perfect for (imitating his gestures) hammering nails, tightening stubborn screws, or emptying bags of fertilizer for your garden.

Max looks over the gloves, clearly enamored with them. In his excitement to finally be making progress towards his goal of murder he overlooks the fact that these gloves are fingerless and will in no way help in minimizing traceable evidence at his future crime scene.

Max: I'll take them.

Scene Fades down

Exterior. Night. Shot pans down from a graffiti covered wall in a grimy alley. Shots of a shadowy figure moving through alleys. He is dragging a body behind him, Scene Fades down.

Flash Forward

Interior. A residential garage. OTS shot of man unconscious bound in a chair.The man is unkempt and is wearing old weathered clothes and a bucket hat. He appears almost homeless or like a Californian who spends way too much time down at the boardwalk.  Max holds an antique gun pointed at him as he regains consciousness. The man awakens groggily. He notices the figure standing above him and the gun.

Man: (Frantically)  Whoa buddy. There's no need for that now is there?

Max: I'm afraid your time has come.

Man: (Noticing the the gun is essentially a relic, he switches from panicked to confused) How old is that thing?

Max: (Taken off guard) What? (looking down at gun) I mean... It's a little...

Man: (Gaining confidence) Does it even fire?

Max: Well, yeah. It's...

Man: (Now angry) Is this some kind of joke?

Max: (Flustered. Voice becomes whiney) No dammit. (Regaining Composure) I'm going to kill you.

Man: (Almost yelling) Whoa man. Just calm down.

Max: (pointing at the man with his gun) You shut up. You're making this way harder than it needs to be. (Max pulls notepad from back pocket, reviewing it. To self) Step one: pick victim. check. Step two: kidnap victim. check. Step three: kill victim. no check. Step four: get rid of body. also no check.

Man: Is that really the extent of your planning?

Max: (Annoyed) Quiet you. Now, how am I going to kill you?

Max looks over an array of tools he has gathered as potential weapons. A hack saw, hammer, gun, wrench, as well as various kitchen knives.

Max: How about this? (He holds up the hack saw) I SAW it in a movie once.

The man simply shakes his head. A vague look of disgust and bemusement on his face at his assailant's use of a pun.

Max: No? (Setting down the saw) How about we (picking up a hammer) HAMMER out the details later?

Man: (With a mixture of disgust and annoyance) That’s fucking stupid.

Max sets down the hammer. Clearly self satisfied with the puns he is making.

Max: Oh it’s stupid, huh? Well to me (Picking up a wrench) the suspense is GUT WRENCHING!

The man in the chair is clearly fed up with all of the word play and sighs heavily. His face now shows boredom.

Max: That’s enough out of you! Your life is at an end!

Max points the gun at the man. The man flinches thinking he is about to die.

Max: Wait, wait, wait, how about this one? Prepare to meet your maker maggot!

Man: (shrugs) Honestly, the first one was better.

Max begins to twirl the gun around his finger and he ponders his lines

Max: Really, I mean, I liked the fir-

Suddenly the gun discharges, shooting the victim in the head. The man goes limp. Max freezes for a moment in shock staring off into space and his mind comes to grips with the fact that his gun has fired. Slowly he looks over at the body. He taps it with his foot

Max: (Incredulously) ...I did it? (With confidence) I did it. (weakly) That's... a lot... of... blood.

Max faints falling to the ground next to the body in a puddle of blood as scene fades to black.

Still on black. Police radio chatter is heard as a responding law enforcement agent reports in. The Artificial Intelligence dispatch agent calls out first.

Dispatch: Unit 3 Please report.

A slurred voice responds

Detective: We’ve got.. two… two dead bodies here. I’ve, urp, I’ve already moved one to the meat waggon.

There is a brief pause as the AI processes this information.

Dispatch: Wait. What? No! Negative Unit 3. DO NOT TOUCH THE CRIME SCENE! Repeat, DO NOT TOUCH THE CRIME SCENE!

Scene slowly fades back up: Interior garage. Scene is in B&W A single detective staggers over to a body lying in blood and begins investigating the scene. The Detective is wearing what was once probably a nice suit, long since worn down. His hair is clean cut, but his stubbled beard betrays his grooming patterns. The person on the floor is Max in his white shirt. The scene is matched with the cold opening as the story catches up to itself.

Max narrates: And here we are. Back where we began.

Color fades back into the scene. The detective stands up and steps over the body. The perspective switches to Max’s point of view as he slowly regains consciousness. His vision fades in and out. He sees the detective over him finishing off a beer. Max hears the detective speak, though it is hard for him to focus on the words.

Detective: (to self) Looks like the killer struck again. Used to only kill clowns. The sick bastard's actually moved on to people.

Detective moves to a different area of the garage. He leans on a counter, pinching bridge of nose. Shot in front of detective over his shoulder. Max regaining consciousness, notices that the detective is no longer looking in his direction and slowly and quietly sneaks out.

Some time passes. A Medical Examiner enters.

ME: It’s my day off. This had better be good.

The ME looks around noting the lack of corpses at the scene.

ME:  I thought you said there were two bodies (we had two John Does)?

Detective: What? (Turns around) Look, I'm going to be honest, I'm pretty drunk. Must've been double vision.

ME: You've been drinking?

Detective: (Slurring) Look buddy, I don't bust your chops when you get all coked up on the job. This is the first real murder since the Vagrant Wars after the fall of the Apron Empire in 2185, so be happy you have a job at all!

ME: Coked up? You mean when I drink soda?

Detective: Fuck you is what I mean!*

*Alternate line: I’m sorry. What I meant to say was: Fuck you!

ME: You know what? You’re kind of an asshole.

Detective: I majored in being an asshole so I could become a cop.

The Detective glares down at the ME with contempt.

Detective: Listen buddy,

The detective flails his hands around to try and get his point across.

Detective: (Cont’) You are going to rule all this an accident.

The Detective pulls his hand to his head. He is on the verge of blacking out. He momentarily pulls himself together enough to continue.

Detective: The family will get their insurance payout faster… we’ll have a hell of a lot less paperwork. Everyone gets to go home early. It’s a win win.

ME: (Defeated. He nods) Alright, fine.

The detective stares down the ME one more time. Sizing him up. Content that he is able to shirk his responsibilities another day. They both stare down at the puddle of blood that is at their feet.

Detective: Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go throw up behind that car over there.

The detective points with a beer bottle still in hand.

ME: By all means.

The detective exists while the ME stares down at the mess before him. Scene fades down.

Fade up. Scene: Interior apartment living room. Max enters the living room, still covered in blood, as his roommate sits on the couch mindlessly using his phone. He looks up noticing Max covered in blood. There is slight surprise in his eyes though he refuses to betray his cool air.

Roommate: (Returning his gaze to his phone) So how'd it go?

Max: (Brief Pause) Pretty good… Ugly, but…

(Another brief pause. This time softer) Pretty good.

End Title Card and end Credits.