SLIP/THROUGH is an original screenplay presented in the experimental PICTUREplay format.
Two detectives from opposing factions (one is human, the other is cybernetic) hunt down an elusive serial killer terrorizing interplanetary tourism corporations.
There are film noir homages like femme fatales mixed with cyberpunk elements in this hard boiled thriller.
This Chapter will have a lot of action, some crime solving, and it will get a little steamy.
This Chapter… Wilder (portrayed by IDRIS ELBA) encounters danger on the rooftops as he searches for clues. There’s a big sci-fi action sequence.
Meanwhile Dash (portrayed by RYAN GOSLING) goes over his gathered evidence searching for Black Syn’s identity.
click, listen, scroll to something different, PORTISHEAD with “Cowboys”.
SLIP/THROUGH – CHAPTER TWO – pages 12-25
INT. HALLWAY – CONTINUOUS
He follows him down another long hallway. Stilts stride is much longer than Wilder’s. Stilts runs into a stairwell.
WILDER (huffing) Shoulda… chased… the short one.
INT. STAIRWELL – CONTINUOUS
Wilder lags behind Stilts. He taps his bracelet.
WILDER Sammy? Come on… Sammy!
An IMAGE of Samantha HOVERS over his wrist as he runs.
SAMANTHA Wilder. What are you doing? I thought you were on the job?
WILDER This is me… On the job… I’m in pursuit, Sammy. Gimme a hand, will ya?
SAMANTHA What do you require?
WILDER My location. Lock all stairwells.
SAMANTHA Suspect identification?
WILDER Unknown. Fuckin Genies. But I think one of em saw something.
SAMANTHA I trust your intuition Wilder, but the Boss will want more.
WILDER Notes sent to home. Check footprint. I’m sure it’s this fuck I’m chasing.
SAMANTHA You are not cleared for weapon use at this location.
WILDER (smirks) I just wanna talk.
Stilts looks over the stair-rail and notices Wilder coming.
Stilts grabs the exit door. It’s locked. He bangs on it.
WILDER Thanks, Sammy. I’m out.
The image of Samantha disappears. Wilder continues, huffing and puffing. Stair after stair – a flight behind Stilts.
Stilts finishes the climb. The roof door is pried open. He enters and kicks away the door-stop.
The door closes just as Wilder gets to it. He taps his bracelet. Samantha pops up.
SAMANTHA I’m already on it.
EXT. ROOFTOP – LATE NIGHT
Wilder bursts through the door, into the rooftop. He scans the area, looking for Stilts.
The roof is full of synthetic trees, 4-10 feet tall. The branches look like circuitry. They spritz green mist.
Wilder weaves through the trees. He sees a group squatting – thin and ragged like heroin junkies.
A junkie points a long metallic syringe at Wilder.
Wilder draws his futuristic pistol.
It LIGHTS up. Activated. EEENNNN. A red line FLOWS down the barrel.
The junkie lowers the syringe and sits back down.
VOICE Heh, watch it, buddy.
Wilder turns to the voice.
Stilts knocks a woman over.
A friend helps her up. Another grabs Stilts.
FRIEND (CONT.) We’re tryin to ESCAPE here, man.
WILDER (pistol aimed) Stop right there!
The junkies look to Wilder. Scared. Stilts panics. He tries to squirm away from the junkie’s grip.
WILDER Just him. I don’t give a fuck what you Pin Pals shoot up your spine.
FRIEND Shit. He’s a Banshee. Don’t take us. Here.
The junkie lets Stilts go. Wilder advances slowly. Points.
WILDER I just want… Him.
STILTS (broken English) I din’t see an-thin.
Stilts backs away, into a tall synthetic tree, its branches rattle, sounding like a chandelier. He looks to it. Then whips his attention back. Jittery.
PSSSH. He whips his head. The tree mists – blue spray becomes green in the amber light of the branches.
WILDER Tell me–
STILTS Nuthin. Just Plunging. Just Plunge.
WILDER (under his breath) Fuckin Genies.
Wilder grabs Stilts. He pushes him against the tree.
WILDER The footprints. I know you guys saw what happened down there. Tell me.
STILTS No. Nuthin. I see no thing.
Wilder presses his pistol against Stilts’ bony chest.
WILDER That’s just it, hopper. The first thing you said once I gotchu pinned: “You didn’t see anything”. You know what that means, right?
Stilts squirms, shaking his head. The tree mists again.
WILDER (CONT.) Means you fuckin saw sumthin. Now spill!
Wilder pushes Stilts into the tree again. It rattles like a disturbed Christmas tree full of ornaments.
Wilder waves his gun in front of Stilt’s trembling face.
WILDER You know what this does, right? I tell you it’s no pin, hopper. You plunge with this, you plummet… Now spill, before I spill you.
STILTS I j-just plunge. Sugar Man lives here. We scored. Then went to–
WILDER Click forward for me.
STILTS The Dark. He did it. I saw. Blood. All where. I ran. To plunge. Had to figure it out. Had to plunge.
WILDER Quit rambling. How’d he get inside?
STILTS I-I know. I tell, no Banish me.
WILDER Tell me right now. Right here.
STILTS Sugar Man got Dark coin.
WILDER They work together?
STILTS Sugar is all where. All time. He give key to Dark. Key to all where.
Wilder rushes Stilts to the edge of the building.
WILDER (yells, spit flies) Tell me… WHERE. IS. HE!!
Wilder holds Stilts by his shirt – his pistol lowered.
WILDER You know how many Genies I’ve Banished back to the bottle. You wanna join em?
STILTS Okay. I-I-I take you there.
Wilder thinks. Hesitant. He holsters his pistol.
FZZZZCHH! Laser fire strikes Stilts in the chest, just missing Wilder. Stilts flies off the roof – his shirt rips off in Wilder’s grip.
Wilder spins, lowering to a knee, and drawing his pistol.
The barrel lights up red with activation.
click, listen, scroll – mix it up with TRICKY if you like
Shortie stands at the entrance with 3 large BRUTES.
Wilder shoots, hitting a Brute – lasers bury into his chest. It falls.
SHORTIE Get him!
The two remaining brutes rush Wilder, pushing aside junkies.
Wilder runs to a cybernetic tree for protection.
The brutes split up, trying to flank Wilder.
Junkies bolt for the exit. Shortie avoids the stampede. He aims his pistol to the trees, searching for Wilder.
Wilder hides, weapon drawn to his chin. A cloud of mist blooms. The branches pulse with a faint amber glow. On. Off.
A Brute pounds his fists together, futuristic brass-knuckles IGNITE with a blurred blue energy.
BRUTE (oafish laugh) Smash.
The Brute punches a tree. It explodes with sparks.
Wilder peeks. Spots Shortie. He turns the other way –
WHAM. Face-to-face with the barrelled chest of a behemoth.
The brute laughs its goofy dumb guffaw.
Wilder ducks the massive swing from the brute, like a boxer.
Instead of punching, Wilder jams his pistol into the Brute’s stomach.
He punches with the gun and fires several times.
The Brute is shredded apart. His intestines erupt chunk by chunk. The eviscerated brute falls.
Wilder runs for cover.
Shortie waves the Brute to Wilder, and goes the other way.
SHORTIE Bad night, tonight. Sugar Man angry.
Wilder grabs his notepad. Makes some swipes and throws it towards the other Brute.
SHORTIE (CONT.) Cops come to home. No no no no no.
Wilder glides with stealth over to another tree.
SHORTIE (CONT.) Sugar pile coin. You no stop pile.
The Brute walks by Wilder’s digital notepad on the ground.
WILDER (to bracelet) Notepad. Play.
A hologram appears behind the thug – a scantily clad woman.
Wilder smirks at the view, and heads for another tree.
The holo-woman kisses the air.
The Brute turns. His eyes widen.
She strips to Jazzy music.
He slumps to the ground, seated, and watches.
Shortie approaches Wilder from the other side.
The Brute watches the stripper, laughing and masturbating.
Wilder runs for the roof exit. Shortie fires at him. Each blast misses Wilder, but gets closer and closer.
Wilder blindly returns fire as he runs away.
Shortie looks to the Brute, for back-up. It is “busy”.
SHORTIE This way, Brute. This way.
Shortie fires again. Wilder has no place to hide, between here and the door. The shots spark near him.
BAM! The door bursts open. A shotgun-type weapon advances. SLOWLY. Time slowed to a crawl.
A pudgy hand grips the weapon. A wide man, with a cigar, and a Newsies cap.
Wilder slams on the brakes, digging his heels into the pebbles on the roof. The weapon is aimed right at his face.
He skids low to the ground, like sliding into second base.
The wide man shares a slow look with Wilder. He cocks the weapon with a loud CH-CHKK. He shifts his aim – and fires.
A shot rips apart a synthetic tree.
WIDE MAN I got this, Wilder.
Wilder rises, happy to see his friend, SAUL, packing heat.
SAUL/WIDE MAN (CONT.) You get Spanky.
WILDER Me? You get Spanky. You’re the one with the fuckin cannon.
A laser sparks between the two friends. Saul fires at Shortie. He runs away. Wilder gives chase.
The stripper continues. Brute rises, interrupted, and now extra pissed. He slams his fists, activating his knuckles.
The Brute charges ahead, smashing trees as he goes.
Saul fires at the charging Brute. Out of range. Pebbles fly.
Wilder aims at Shortie, hiding behind a shattered tree.
WILDER I guess you won’t talk either, eh?
SHORTIE Fuck your mother, Banshee.
WILDER (sarcastic) That’s illuminating.
Shortie slinks against the tree. Wilder can see his head.
SHORTIE Sugar Man vapour. You no find never.
WILDER Right, right. I getcha.
SHORTIE No tell. No coin can make me spill.
WILDER What I thought.
Wilder shoots Shortie – shaving off the top of his head.
Brute barrels right for Saul. Saul patiently smokes his fat cigar. He spots Wilder running from the other side.
SAUL Aren’t ya glad I showed up.
Wilder smirks. His eyes widen as he notices Brute charging.
SAUL (exhales) I got it.
Saul, looking at Wilder, casually fires at the Brute. The blast sheers off its legs. Brute smashes to the ground.
Saul shoulders the smoking “shotgun”. Wilder joins him.
WILDER (panting) Saul? I thought. You. Retired?
SAUL (mouths cigar) This is me… Retired. Me and Earth aren’t made for each other.
WILDER Never thought I’d be happy of that, old man.
SAUL I checked your notes, Wilder. Came here quick as I could.
WILDER (angry) My notes? Again? I told you not–
SAUL Check it out. I helped didn’t I?
They look around. Shattered trees. Corpses. The stripper.
WILDER Ya. “Helped.”
SAUL I’ll take care of this garbage. Go see Gabrielle.
SAUL Check on her, will ya.
SAUL Like you don’t enjoy gettin your dog wet. Go on. I got this.
WILDER I’ll let Sammy know what’s up.
SAUL Your Operator? They won’t care.
WILDER There was this Dredded-up Genie. He saw what happened. He’s probably on his way to Sugar now. That gives us a couple trails to sniff out.
SAUL I heard the Sugar moves around. How the fuck we s’posed to find him?
WILDER Sugar is the key to finding Black Syn. Ask that Brute.
They look to the large bleeding Brute. Legs shredded away.
WILDER Make… him talk.
SAUL (inhales cigar) Thadda boy. Now go on. Git.
Wilder holsters his gun and straightens out his jacket.
WILDER Saul? Gimme a coin?
SAUL You don’t have a tab with Gabs?
WILDER (hand out) Coin or no?
Saul reaches into his ratty trench-coat. He tosses a coin to Wilder. It glints light blue, as it goes–
click, listen, scroll – to some trip hop legends: MORCHEEBA “Trigger Hippy”
INT. APARTMENT – LATE NIGHT
— flying through the air and caught by
GABRIELLE: sleek and curvy, looking like she stepped out of a HITCHCOCK film. She flips the coin over. It glints.
GABRIELLE Shiny. You don’t always have to pay up front, Wilder. I do trust you.
Wilder crashes into her couch. He takes off his coat, grabs his pistol and places it on the table with a THUD.
WILDER (winces) I know. Thanks, Gabby. Coffee?
GABRIELLE That what you come for? Coffee?
WILDER Saul. He said you wanted company.
GABRIELLE What? Saul? Why’d he say that?
WILDER (realizes) Fuck me… He would.
GABRIELLE Oh, so he thought you needed company.
WILDER If it’s not one thing, it’s the other with that old bastard. He’s been checkin my notes. Even after I told him not–
GABRIELLE You okay? What happened? The news said Sy–
WILDER No no, this came after.
GABRIELLE (surprised) They sent you? What about the Skins?
WILDER They sent the Three-One… Before me.
GABRIELLE Why go? Sounds like a waste of time.
WILDER The Boss. He don’t trust the Skins. Or the Hotels.
Wilder’s Notepad chimes. He shows it to Gabrielle.
GABRIELLE Go on, then.
Gabrielle leaves the room. Saul’s video plays on the pad.
SAUL I checked the stain in the street first… Seeeeeee.
Saul shifts the recorder to the Stilts’ skinny shirtless body. His spine protrudes. There are grotesque entry sites.
There’s a carbon deposit build-up – a mechanized INFECTION.
Saul shows Stilt’s boots. A panel pop up – the earlier photo of the bloody footprint. They overlay, click, and match.
SAUL Looks like you were right, buddy ol pal. I taught you well… Catch me later. Tell Gabrielle I said Hi.
The video ends. Wilder tucks away his pad, then grimaces, grabbing his head. Gabby returns with a steaming mug.
WILDER The case… Saul says hi.
WILDER (gulps) Cheers.
GABRIELLE Well, that takes care of the Fog. You took care of the Crime. Now let me take care of you.
WILDER Gabby? Now? We could talk first.
GABRIELLE Talk? Time is money, coin man. You can talk to the Network.
WILDER Come on, computers aren’t the same.
GABRIELLE And Samantha? What about her?
GABRIELLE (venomous) Ya, “Sammy”. See. You can talk to her all you want. But when you’re here. It’s me time… (smirks, sly) So. You want summa me? Or what?
Gabrielle places her hands on her curvy hips.
Wilder smirks. He sets down his mug. And pulls off his shirt.
click, listen, scroll – the inventor of Rock N Roll, Sister ROSETTA THARPE
INT. DASH’S HOTEL ROOM – LATE NIGHT
Dash cleans dishes at a basin in the kitchen. Jazz plays from the radio. He washes each dish deliberately.
On the counter, next to a French-press coffee maker and a silver toaster, is what looks like a cutting board.
DASH Replay again.
The edges of the “cutting board” pulse with light. A hologram REPLAY of the crime scene – as Dash imagined it.
INTERCUT: GABBY’S and DASH’S – [music over]
Gabrielle enters her bedroom, wearing vintage French lingerie.
Her hand glides along the doorframe.
Wilder smiles on the edge of her bed, in his boxers.
She slinks towards him, each sultry step pronounced.
Dash stands under the showerhead watching the full-size holo through the foggy glass, as it replays in the bathroom.
The holo shifts from the floor to the sink, as Dash walks across.
He dries himself off. There is mechanized scarring on his spine – like the Genies (JNIs).
Dash wipes a circle clear on the foggy mirror, examining his face a moment. He uses a brush to stir up lather. He shaves with a straight razor. Slow and precise. He stops.
DASH REPLAY: Click back to Entrance.
The holo footage skips to the front door of the crime scene.
DASH Examine Vision Capture. Scan for Angles. Show Entrance Ground.
Dash hunches over, towards the miniature recreation.
DASH Expand Re-Create to Room.
The hologram shifts to full-scale. Dash is now bent down in the re-created hallway. He looks at the bloody floor.
DASH Magnify image. To wall.
Dash thinks, looking at his partially shaved face, then the wall holo: a bloody footprint. His brow lowers. Realizing.
The long stocking covered leg of Gabrielle, her foot pins Wilder down by his chest.
She slinks the stocking down, revealing silky caramel skin.
She crumples it up and throws it at Wilder. He smirks.
She unclips her garter, and pulls off her other stocking.
Wilder pulls her in. She playfully shoves him back.
Gabrielle straddles him. And pulls him in for a firm kiss.
Dash examines the enlarged footprint. It’s from Stilts.
DASH Cross-match print. Reference Vision Capture. Black Syn victim five.
A full-scale image of a man in a suit – his head cut off.
DASH Jacket. Enhance. Chemical CompScreen.
The image enhances, revealing different coloured chemicals with labels, representing blood and other particles.
DASH CompScreen remove Human Blood and other Atmospheric Particles. Search for Soil Compound. Latent Footprint.
The image shifts, revealing a footprint: a kick to the back.
DASH Register print. Run comparison. All Syn crime sites. Search Interplanetary.
The new footprint is displayed next to Stilts’: NO MATCH.
Dash pounds his fist on the sink. Angry.
DASH Someone saw… CRYPTEX: send recovered evidence to Work. Mark note. One latent discovered matching Syn. The other: Unknown. Run possible query to Human Investigative Services.
Dash stares at himself in the mirror again. Thinking.
DASH Home: Music up.
The Jazz shifts tempo, becoming more free-form.
Gabrielle and Wilder kiss passionately. He undoes her laced bra.
Her breasts tumble out, partially covered by her hair.
They kiss again. She lowers down Wilder’s chest.
The silhoutted figures of Wilder and Gabrielle are cast onto long red curtains. They roll in the sheets, naked.
The music slows.
Dash gets into bed.
He grabs a hardcover novel, unfolds a dog-eared page.
He reads, content.
He licks his finger and turns a page.
CHIME. Dash sighs. He looks up to a pulsing blue light-bulb.
TO BE CONTINUED…
What do you think? Leave a comment below.
Would you like to see more SLIP/THROUGH? Black Syn will return next Chapter.
Do you like the experimental PICTUREplay format?
What do you think of the blend of cyberpunk and film noir? Let me know what you think of the story and the characters so far.