The Last Thing He Wanted (2020) - full transcript

A veteran D.C. journalist loses the thread of her own narrative when a guilt-propelled errand for her father thrusts her from byline to unwitting subject in the very story she's trying to break. Adapted from Joan Didion's namesake novel.


[indistinct yelling in Spanish]

[gunfire continues]



[speaking Spanish]

[female radio announcer speaking Spanish]

[shouting in Spanish]

[female radio announcer
continues in Spanish]

[shouting indistinctly]

[birds chirping]

[camera shutter clicking]

[flies buzzing]

[man speaking indistinctly in Spanish]

[flies buzzing]

[camera shutter clicks]

[airplane approaches]

[camera shutter clicks]

[speaking Spanish]

[continues in Spanish]

[Elena] Some real things
have happened lately.

- [camera shutter clicks]
- First, I wanted to know who.

Who chose money over life?

Steel and lead over blood and spirit?

Who was it overlooked...

the living?

Who let distance and basic difference

decide whose man
was left behind bleeding out,

and whose men medevac'd to safety?

Who the war pig?

Who the profiteer?

- [camera shutter clicks]
- Who the cold heart?

The vapid soul?

And second...

Second, I wanted to know why.

For a while, we thought time was money.

Find the time, the money comes with it.

Moving fast.

Get the big suite,
the multi-line telephones.

Get room service on one, get valet on two,
premium service,

out by nine, back by one.

Download all data.

Uplink Prague,
get some conference calls going.

Sell AlliedSignal, buy Cyprus Minerals,
work the management plays.

Plug into the news cycle,

get the wires raw,

nod out on the noise.

Somewhere in the nod,
we were dropping cargo.

Somewhere in the nod,
we were losing infrastructure,

losing redundant systems,

losing specific gravity.

Weightlessness seemed, at the time,
the safer mode.

Weightlessness seemed, at the time,

the mode in which we could beat
both the clock and the affect itself.


I see now that it was not.

I see now that the clock was ticking.

I see now that we were experiencing
not weightlessness,

but what is interestingly described

on page 1513 of the Merck Manual,
15th edition,

as a sustained reactive depression,

a bereavement reaction...

to the leaving of familiar environments.

I see now...

that the environment we were leaving...

was that of feeling rich.

I did not see it then.

- [woman screams]
- [panicked chatter]

[siren wails]


[tires squeal]

This should have alerted us.

Should have been processed.

There were hints all along,

clues we should have registered,

sifted for their application
to the general condition.

[soldiers yelling]

But we were moving fast.

We were traveling light.

We were younger.

I was younger.

[Shultz] Well, I'd hate to speak
about that, but of course, uh,

we'll look into it. Um...

But the actions that we have been forced
to take in that area,

obviously, have been justified.

Japanese government vis-à-vis trade
is complicated,

but the simple answer is,

we're hoping that with the shift
from a distinctly liberal apparatus

to a conservative one,

Japan will shift away
from its nationalistic tendencies...

- Hi.
- a system more in tune

with free trade to North America.

Not just us,

but Canada included.

- What did I miss?
- [man] One more question.

So far, nothing.

Why am I not surprised?

[whispers] Apparently,
spring is a great time

to talk to Japan face-to-face.

- [whispers] Oh.
- Cherry blossoms, temples at Mount Fuji.

I believe it's called
international diplomacy. sense is that
that is the direction we're headed.

[man] I believe we have time
for one more question.

[camera shutter clicks]

Okay, The Atlantic Post.

Yes, thank you. Elena McMahon. Uh...

Mr. Secretary,
with regards to the Pacific Rim,

where, as you put it,
"We've lost so much ground,"

how might you address reports

the CIA is laying underwater mines
in Nicaraguan ports?

Does Washington have any control
over mining operations in Nicaragua?

[Shultz] I don't have any comment to make.

No? Care to comment on what
the purpose of the harbor mining is?

Doesn't turning a blind eye

to the blocking of major shipping channels
seem counterintuitive

for an administration
interested in improving trade?

You'd have to ask the Contras about that.

Uh, sir, with all due respect,

the President has said on television,
and I quote,

"I, too, am a Contra."

[crowd murmuring]

- Look, uh...
- [camera shutters clicking]

It looks like their purpose may indeed be

to somehow interrupt the commerce
of the country.

And is this at the bequest of Washington?

Again, there's no answer
I can provide there.

Ladies and gentlemen,
we need to be mindful of our time.

So, Mr. Secretary, thank you so much
for being here today.

Thank you so much for your time
spent during lunch.

Uh, from the Press Club, we'd like
to thank everybody for your questions.

Shultzy and the rope-a-dope.

Saved by the bell, I think.

[man] Our special guest will be
United Nations Secretary General

Javier Pérez de Cuéllar.

Thank you very much for attending.

[Shultz] Not with a ten-foot pole, Treat.
The hell I will.

Understood, George,
but we need a narrative.

A story?

Treat, you and I both know
what's going on down there.

It's just another manipulation

they expect me to wrestle with
on their behalf.

Nicaragua is a cancer
in our own land mass,

and it's gotta be cut out,
plain and simple.

The tide will ebb away from us.

Meanwhile, if a little intel leaks
here and there,

as long as it helps push the notion
that we're a stabilizing factor

in the zone, it's a positive.

Important thing is to control it,
keep it headed in that direction.

This whole goddamn operation's
gonna blow up in somebody's face,

and I will not let it be mine,
not by a long shot.

You boys figure it.

[camera shutters clicking]

[Reagan] Don't think your vote
isn't needed.

Go and vote!

And take others with you...

- [Elena] Hi, kiddo.
- [Cat] Hi.

How was the funeral?

Well, it wasn't exactly a funeral.

I just went to Grandpa Ward's house

and he showed me a tiny urn
with some of Grandma's ashes in it.

[Cat] Were you sad?

I was. I was something like sad.

[school bell rings]

Why not sad? Why just something like it?

[Elena] Well, I thought a lot about you.

And that helped keep me thankful.

- [Cat] Really?
- [Elena] Mm-hmm.

Like, how?

Like how you look so much
like your grandmother.


Your smile, your eyes.

And that helped keep me happy.

Wish I could have gone.

You do?

[Cat] Yeah.

What are you doing right now?

I really want some lechón from Versailles.

Oh, baby, me too. Me too.

But I'll tell you what.

I'll get you real lechón from Havana

just as soon
as there's a bureau spot for me.

- [newsroom chatter]
- Okay. I should.

- McMahon.
- I'm gonna have it filed in an hour.

[Stewart] McMahon, here, now.
Come here, come here. In, in, in, in.

Uh, listen. Close the door. Sit down.

Okay, um, how did everything go
with your mom? You doing okay?

- Yeah, I'm fine, thanks. What's up?
- Good.

That move to reopen Central American
bureau, it's just not happening.

Says who?

- Please. No, don't...
- Stewart, what the hell?

I've been trying to convince you,
Grant, everybody,

since we left San Salvador two years ago.

We ID'd those bullet casings to Missouri,
we have tracked airstrips, munitions.

Just this morning I was in touch
with my Hill source who...

- Who hasn't stepped forward.
- Who's about to step forward.

- Oh, come on.
- He's legit. He's reliable.

I just confronted Shultz over the mined
harbors and he nearly shit his pants.

If am doing this stuff from here, imagine
what I could do on the ground there.

- I gotta move you to the campaign trail.
- [Elena] No!

No, there's an entire room.

- What about Joanne?
- [Stewart] Sprained ankle.

- What about Chris?
- [Stewart] He's filling in for Joanne.

Well, I don't care. Put a stringer on it.

You can't wipe me from this, Stewart.

I gotta freeze the whole desk,
not just you.

Freeze the desk?

Look, our reporting on Central America

is being pointed out
as too soft, sympathetic.

Says who?

Off the record,
Grant was here this morning.

People on the Hill are pressing.

Of course they are, Stewart.
They're being exposed.

That's the whole point, right?

Be that as it may, they're the ones
who can break the bottom line here.

You know how it goes.
Grant moves with business people,

politicians, lobbyists.

He's not gonna cut those ties
for your reporting.


it's just business.

It's not just business,
it's real people's lives down there.

You can't just look away.

[telephone rings]

- [Elena sighs]
- [ringing continues]

It's been ringing ever since I got back.

- I take it you talked to Stewart?
- [Elena] I'm done.

You quit, right?

Tell me you walked.

I'm taking a vacation.

Oh, Jesus Christ, Alma,
he froze the desk, for fuck's sake.

Do you know how many months
I've accrued over the past three years?

It's appalling.

- Come on.
- [telephone rings]

You seriously think
that I'm gonna stop working?

All of this keeps moving. We keep moving.

The only difference is, is that we won't
have to file for a couple of months.

Think about it.

The campaign trail drops you
that much closer to the center.

On and off the plane,
in and out of certain rooms.

[telephone rings]


- Hello.
- [heavy breathing through phone]

[Dick] Pardon my using your time,
but I've been trying to call your mother,

and that asshole she lives with
refuses to put her on the line.

That's because he can't, Dad. Remember?

[Dick] I'm passing through. Maybe
you could meet me in the next half hour.

- I am at work.
- [typewriter keys clacking]

[Dick] Some kind of coincidence,
since that's where I called you.

Look, Dad, I'm on a deadline here.

[Dick] I can do 5:30.

Meet me at the Madison.

No, Dad, I...

[dial tone]


[jazz playing]

[man 1] Policy-wise, it's a disaster.

[man 2] It's not "policy,"

- it's politesse.
- Keep on shoveling it.

- Spit it out, buddy, what's your problem?
- [Elena] Dad.

We have no problem.

[Elena] Dad.


Actually, you're wrong.

I can see...

you're buying into the whole package here.

You're very adaptable,
I ever tell you that?

Just like your mother.

Oh, come on, Ellie.

Celebrate with me.

This is your celebratory mode?

[chuckles] Come on, I...
I got a big deal coming. The big deal.

If this goes off, finally I'll be able
to leave you something.

[snaps fingers] Hey, buddy.
What do you want?

- Oh, vodka tonic, please.
- [scoffs]

Say "Absolut."

In these sissy bars, you say "vodka,"

and they'll give you a Schmerk-off
or whatever it's called and charge extra.

Early Times and water for me. And...

[sighs] break out the almonds, pal.

Leave the cereal for the queers.

So, you do this every day?

Same lying sacks of suit-and-tie shits

blowing hot air up each other's assholes,

and you got to sit there and take notes.

Don't know how you manage, Ellie.

Well, that must have been something
you lost out on observing once you left.

- That's not fair.
- [Elena] No.

Let me fill you in.

How do I manage? Let's see.

Um... well, first I managed
to graduate high school

after you walked out on Mom,
uh, 20 years ago.

Then I managed to stay at UNLV
as long as I could afford it,

seeing as how my long-lost father wouldn't
tell me what to list as his profession

on the financial aid application.

What was it you told me
when I finally tracked you down?


No, no, no. "Supply chain."

Let's see, what else, uh... Oh, oh!
I managed to have a kid of my own,

and I still know her, too,
so that's an achievement.


Breast cancer.

Managed to get through that.

So, uh, anything else...

Oh, yeah. Career,

divorce, cross-country relocation.

[stammering] All in all,
I'd say I've managed pretty well.

So, the fucking Phi Pho Epsilons
over at table 22

don't really bleep on my radar
at this point.

I got other shit I'm managing.
Thanks, Dick.

[Dick] About time, sweetheart.

Here's to your success.

- My Ellie.
- [glasses clink]

[gulps] And cheers to big moves.

In fact, you just missed my partner.
You know him, Epperson.

I don't know him.

Yeah, you do. You remember.

Maxie. Anyway,

I'm moving product at triple my rate.

- Dare I ask what the product is?
- Same as it ever was.

You haven't changed, have you?

Anyhow, how's my little Cathy-bird?


She's fine. She's good, Dad.

You still got that poor little thing
locked away up north?

It's a boarding school with horse stables
and a Greek amphitheater.

Don't be extreme.

Anyway, with my schedule, boarding
school's the most consistent option.

Have you heard from your mother?

You know, I keep calling the house,

and that drug-dealer boyfriend of hers
doesn't let me talk to her. Asshole.

I say, "Let me talk to Kitty already."
"You can't," he says.

I go, "Put her
on the goddamn line, prick."

- And you know what that bum does?
- Dad.

He hangs up on me.

- Dad.
- Believe it? He hangs right up. What?

You don't remember I called you last month
to say I was going to California?

No, What?
To visit your trust-fund husband?

Ex-husband, and...


You don't remember I-I called to tell you
I was going to the funeral?

We talked about it.

Someone died?

Who died?

[inhales deeply]

When I first saw her, I...

I'll never forget it. [chuckles]

She... Like a ray of light.

The Floridita in Havana, 1952.

Goddamn, we had a good time there.


My Catherine. Pretty Kitty.


Mom used to always talk about

how you guys would get the garlic shrimp
with black beans every day.

[chuckling] That's right. Uh...

Before the revolution,
when Havana was a real town.

[Dick inhales deeply]

[sighs] Goddamn.

[Dick exhales]

[Dick exhales]

Kitty's gone.


Things are hotting up again.

Whole lot of poppin' going on. [chuckles]

Oh, come on, Ellie.

Give us a smile.

Come on.


Another. Another round.

[softly] I'm good.

[speaks indistinctly]

♪ Gotta get away ♪

[man] Like, an affirmative action hire?

[woman] No, I was the top of my class.

Hey. Hey, you can sit here.

[man] I'm all about that.
Hey, Pete, get the tunes going!


[woman] A little mealy. From yesterday.

- [man 2] Oh! Jensen, you pig.
- Yeah, that was me. That was me!

[man] Yeah!


- [cheering]
- [man] Yeah!

♪ Sits around all day
Drinks coffee and tea ♪

♪ He expects all the work
To be done by me ♪

[crowd cheering]

[crowd chanting] Four more years!

Four more years!

Four more years!

Four more years!


[Reagan] That's what I came here
to talk to you about.

[man] We love you, Ronnie!

[Reagan] Abe Lincoln said that we must
disenthrall ourselves with the past,

and then we will save our country.

Four years ago, that's what we did.

We made a great turn.

[Reagan] Thank you. Thank you, all.

[cheering and applause]

[crowd cheering]

[Reagan] With regard to the future,
you ain't seen nothing yet.


Thank you. Thank you.

[applause and cheering]

[clinking glass]

[man] Does everyone have a glass?

Happy birthday, Helena.

[cheering and applause]

But you all should know
that this brave and regal lady

is distinguished by a history of service

to her community and her country.

It comes as no surprise

that she would share her own birthday
to be with us

for a fundraiser for Team Reagan.

[cheering and applause]

So, Helena, here's to many years
of selfless service,

and here's to four more years
of Reagan country!

- [cheering]
- [big band music plays]


[Helena] George.

Oh, George, this... [chuckles]

This is the young lady
that I wanted you to meet.

[Elena chuckles]

Her name's just like mine.

- Elena.
- Helena.


[both laugh]

She works for...

Yes, I know who she works for.

Oh, so you've already met. Well, good.

Sweetheart, now's not the time, really.

She's writing a piece
about my favorite charity

and all the hard work that they've done.

A human-interest companion piece
to our campaign coverage.

Sugar dove...

All she wants is a little background.

She wants to sit down with you
and spend a little time.

And I told her that you'd be glad to.

- So, finish your cake.
- [Elena chuckles]

[softly] Thank you.

Speaking of charity, just a quick question
on the charitable aid...

No comment. Thank you. Goodbye.

- [Elena] Any, uh...
- No comment.

- Question about the charitable aid...
- Thank you.Goodbye.

- Just a comment?
- Hi. Excuse me.

Sorry, the Secretary is indisposed
for questions at the moment.

So, you'll need to schedule
a formal meeting

through his office to speak with him.

Happy birthday to your wife.

- Thank you.
- [Treat] It's remarkable, really.

She slipped in and out of El Mozote

with the help of half
the Farabundo Martí Liberation Front.

She's been burning the candle
on both ends ever since.

Everything that happens down here,
she's sourced-up and in print.

Massacres, assassinations,
rigged elections,

the whole supply run from top to bottom.

Unafraid and over-driven,
to put it mildly.

Always a step ahead by a nose.

Just the simple fact that she's down there
reporting on the conflict

is evidence of the kind of instability
we need as a pretext

to justify our military presence.

Look, Treat, if you think this McMahon
inadvertently helps accomplish

a continual motive for our intervention,
then, by all means...

[Berquist] Mr. Secretary,
if I may disagree.

Well, first, the Senator sends
his apologies for not being here himself.

But he, and I, can assure you,
as his chief foreign aid officer,

I hold you in the most capable hands.

That said,

I think it's best if we keep all external
players off the grid at this point.

Obviously, we don't want to compromise
decision-making on our part

by having to address press.

I think you can see
why we've pinned her as a conduit.

She's the bullhorn you don't have to hold.

Mr. Secretary, if there was some way
that we could circle back...

Look, Berquist, please assure the Senator
that we're working very hard

to make sure that our allies in Antigua

and the entire Antillean chain
are clear of any misgivings.

The Basin Initiative is very important,

and it's one that we'll be handling
with, uh, experienced hands.

[Berquist sighs]

Fine. That's all.

Give the Senator my regards.

[Berquist] Mr. Secretary, uh...


[dramatic music plays]

Hey, you're coming down for drinks, right?

Mike's paying.

All right, attagirl.

[door closes]

♪ Do you want a drink? ♪

♪ Hey, do you want to party? ♪

♪ Hey, hey, this is rocking Randall Hank ♪

♪ Ready to get the summertime started ♪


Gus, thanks for meeting me
on such short notice.

Beautiful day for some flag-waving.

It is, it is.

Any day's good for that.

Who doesn't love cheerleaders
and Hank Williams?


- Sorry?
- Hank Williams, Jr.

- Oh.
- Different animal entirely.

Wouldn't compare a rock
to the mountain it slid off of, would you?

- Well, when you put it like that...
- No, ma'am. Not on your life.

Not every bull can be a longhorn,
am I right?

Anyway, what you got for me today?

Well, since you were so helpful
in ID'ing those casings...


El Salvador.

The casings from Lake City, Missouri.

LC80s. NATO standard, am I right?

That's right.

- What you got for me?
- It's these.

[crowd cheering]

[Sharp] Mm-hmm. Munitions shipping crates.
This is army surplus.

Forty-five-millimeter rounds here.

These here are boxes of tracers.

That's for M16s, most likely.

Who's the old man?

Don't know.

Where'd you find this stuff?
National Guard?

I got the pictures cold.
Why the National Guard?

Well, because right now,
Texas, Alabama, Louisiana,

20th Special Forces just declared surplus.
That's the stuff you're looking at.

Equipment, rounds, all subsidized at cost.

None of it's staying put, though.

Gets shipped in and armories
sell half of it right back out.

Buddy of mine tells me
his shipped to Florida.

Miami, Fort Lauderdale.

That School of the Americas camp
I was telling you about.

If the stuff's not staying in Florida,
where's it going?

Bet my Purple Heart it's going
to the same places you've been looking.


Costa Rica.

Close as they can get it to Nicaragua.

Contra supporters from here, you mean?

Contra, Sandinista...

I don't even know the goddamn difference.
Most of the time it don't matter.

- Who's steering the stuff?
- [Sharp] "Steering"?

You let a monkey drive your car,
you call it steering?

Hell no.

You want to see how a monkey drives,

buckle up.

Follow the bananas.

[Stewart] Why are you always dead last
with the campaign polls?

New York Times,

Chicago Tribune,

Philadelphia Inquirer...

Shit, probably The Connecticut Lions
High School Newsletter, go blue,

has reported on the California polls
before we have.

The Denver Post is selling out
their late edition

with a piece on Zsa Zsa Gábor's
Bel Air fundraiser.

You're less than two miles from it.

Zsa Zsa Gábor hosting a fundraiser
in Bel Air isn't news, Stewart.

But you know what is?
Surplus arms for Contras.

It's very promising in a campaign year,
am I right?

Government-sponsored violence
to neutralize Nicaraguan officials?

It's very American, it's very
presidential, it's very newsworthy.

[Stewart] I want my polls, Elena.
That's your job.

Bar charts, pie charts, lines and numbers.

I shouldn't have to read
about the polling numbers in Orange County

from the Michigan Gazette.

Who cares about the polling numbers
out of Orange County?

- I want my polls.
- You're serious?

- Oh, my God, you're serious.
- [phone ringing]

The incumbent cowboy is already neck deep
in four years of imperial deceit,

but you're right,
the polls don't reflect that.

- Nor do they reflect...
- McMahon. Live line.

- ...I was not on the press manifest...
- McMahon.

So I barely made the fucking plane here.

I don't pay you to editorialize.
You know why? I'm the editor.

Report your numbers like a good reporter.

- Look...
- Drop the tropical angle. Got it?

You just make sure
that I'm on the fucking manifest,

and I'll file your useless
fucking poll numbers on time.

- [slams receiver]
- [phone ringing]



When was this?

Is he stable?


I can't. I'll arrange someone.

[inhales deeply]

[Alma] Please tell me you did not just
walk off a presidential campaign.

[Elena] What else could I do?

[stammering] He's got no one but me.

He never remarried,
he's got no other kids.

No one, just me.

All of a sudden, I was on the plane.

I didn't know I was coming here
till I was here. So...

Do what you got to do. Tell Stewart...

[woman sobbing]

I don't care. Tell Stewart whatever.

I'm in Miami until... until I don't know.

[Alma] No, I'll file for you.
You take the weekend.

Get your head together.

[Elena] Come on, Alma,

I could file that type of rundown
in my sleep till November, you know that.

Right now, I just...


I can't.

Consider me off indefinitely.

You don't sound too good.

I'm gonna come down there.

[Elena] Don't. If he wasn't out cold,
I wouldn't even be calling you.

[chuckling] I haven't eaten in 28 hours.

Alma, I just, I...

- [sighs]
- [alarm sounds]

[PA] Code vi, code violet. Room 308.

[Dick] Goddamn it!

[PA] Code violet. Room 308.

[Dick] Get me out of here!

[woman] Sir.

- [Dick] Goddamn Epperson.
- Mr. McMahon.

- Where are my shoes, for Christ's sakes?
- Dad.

- It's okay. Dad, Dad.
- Get me outta here, I gotta go!

- No, it's okay.
- I gotta go, Kitty, I gotta go.

- Just hang on. Dad.
- Goddamn Epperson.

The bastard.
He quoted me three per on the 69s.

- [nurse] You're going to feel better.
- Now he tells me

- the market dropped to two.
- Easy.

That's not the deal.

- He'll queer the whole thing up.
- Dad.

- I needed this. Kitty.
- [Elena] It's gonna be fine.

[Dick] Kitty.

[Elena sighs]

[sighs] Dad, it's...

It's Elena.

- Ellie. [pants]
- [Elena] Yeah. It's Ellie.

[Dick] Somebody's waiting for me.

- I got somebody to see.
- Listen to me. Listen to me.

You're not thinking clearly.

You're not in any condition
to do anything.

You're gonna make a mistake,
you're gonna get hurt.

You have to do it.

Do what?

I told you. I told you the whole deal.

Meet Kitty. Kitty Rex.

You mean your boat?

Goddamn, Ellie.

- Goddamn.
- [softly] Hey.

What's gonna happen now?

I'll take care of it.

He ain't here.

You the daughter?


[instrumental music plays]

[toilet flushes]

[inhales deeply]




[Dick] The bastard quoted me three per
on the 69s.

Now he tells me
that the market dropped to two.

I got a big deal coming. The big deal.

- [Elena] Dare I ask what the product is?
- [Dick] Same as it ever was.

[man] Take your time, Mr. McMahon.
I won't rush you.

Can you tell me the name
of the current US president?

I get the game. I get it.
I'm supposed to say "Herbert Hoover,"

and the guy puts me away in some home.

[chuckling] I get it. All right.

Wheel of Fortune.

Herbert Hoover. [sighs]

Franklin Delano Roosevelt,
Harry S. Truman,

Dwight David Eisenhower,
John Fitzgerald Kennedy,

Lyndon Baines Johnson,

Richard Milhous Nixon,

Gerald whatever his name was,
kept tripping over his feet,

Jimmy something, the Christer,

and the one now,

the one the old dummy's
not meant to remember.

The other old dummy, Reagan.

[man] Excellent, Mr. McMahon.
You deserve first prize.

[Dick] First prize is that you leave.

[man] I'll go get the paperwork.

Dad, what the hell?

I put this thing together
on credit, Ellie.

Five, ten years ago, I wouldn't have
gone out on a limb this way.

Do it clean. That's my strict motto.
Cash and carry, but this is the one.

I called in all my favors.

I got paper spread from here to Chicago,

just this one last time.

One million in Citibank traveler's checks,
good as gold.

I know how it sounds, but it's real.

I know what I'm saying, Ellie.
It's me. I'm here.

I need you to look up a name for me.
Max Epperson.

[Alma] That's E-P-P...

Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Based out of Tampa,

- but look for anything in south Florida.
- He's American?

I don't even know if he's real.

[Dick] Million-dollar pay date.

'Course, I have to turn half of it back
to the goons that advanced me, but...

That complicates my situation, Ellie,

but you see the situation I'm in.

Do it, or not.

I'm already in the bag for 500k.

[softly] Jesus.

I might send you some photos.

[vehicle approaching]

[Alma] Elena?

It's all set up.

Elena, hello?

My dad is into some shit.

[Dick] Please, just go.

Talk to my guy.

I'm meeting some friend of his tomorrow.
[stammering] I...

[Alma] You got a name?

No, but if I don't call you
by, say, one, then, you know...

[Alma] If I don't hear from you
by one o'clock,

I'm gonna steal your identity,

write the shit out of this piece,

and thank your posthumous ass
in my Pulitzer speech.

I love you.

[Alma] I know you do.

Now buck up, bucko.
Can't be worse than Salvador.

[song in Spanish plays]

[speaking indistinctly in Spanish]

No place in this sweet, hot town

you can't change a thousand dollar bill.

[cash register chimes]

[speaking Spanish]

[speaking Spanish]

[Sedlow] Looks like
you're waiting for somebody.

I think you.

First things first, how's Dick?

Must be pretty bad
to be sidelining a deal like this.

You know, he's doing much better.
I'll tell him you asked.

No, don't do that. Don't mention it.

Look, before I forget,

if you need anything at all,
you call me first.


This is my card.

It's a pager.

What could I possibly need?

You could need a lot of things,
but let's not worry about that.

Let's worry about getting things right.

What does that look like?

That looks like
you taking a cab to the airport.

Okay? Don't drive yourself,
you take a cab.

Be at the Pan Am Clipper Club
at noon sharp. You understand?

Don't be early. Don't be late.
You be on time.

What you're gonna wanna do then
is go to the desk,

ask for Michelle.

Michelle is the blonde, not the spic.

The other one is Delia, she don't know me.

And then, you gonna wanna say...

I'm here to see Gary Barnett.

Of course, welcome.

Gary wants you
to make yourself comfortable.

If I could please see
your Clipper Club card?

- [Michelle] I saw her card.
- Just sign in here, please.

Allow me, ma'am. Right this way.

- [Elena] So who exactly is Gary Barnett?
- [Sedlow] Don't worry, he'll know you.

Other than that, blend in.
Don't let yourself be noticed.

[woman] Can I get you anything else?

[man] All right, then.
You're telling me that we do have it.

Okay. Well, then.

[woman] Here you go, sir.


I came all the way up from San Salvador
to close the deal.

Yeah, because we are losing
our credibility with the client, you know?

Ninety-two million dollars
is not chickenshit, Mr. Lee.

Just... No, no.


Mr. Lee?

[tense music plays]

[Delia] Excuse me, miss.

You're not authorized to be here.

- Uh, Michelle said that...
- This club is members only.

I'm gonna have to ask you to leave.


This way, please.

[Sedlow] So you let yourself be noticed.

[Elena] Noticed by who?

Noticed by somebody you shouldn't have.

Ellie, who's that?

You know what I think?
You're jerking me around.

Yeah, show up here, show up there,
speak to so-and-so, sit here.

It's all been
pseudo cloak-and-dagger bullshit,

- and I am not amused.
- [Dick] Ellie?

Can you get the rent-a-sitter
to fix me another bourbon?

So what? So what?

You're selling a few
third-rate military leftovers

to second-rate revolutionaries
at I'm guessing first-rate markups?

So fucking what?

That story's already been written
a couple of times.

Miami Herald, pick any section.
I'll give you a dime to print...

It's just a microfiche,
but the real headline is,

you're just not
that fucking important anymore.

You're a no-name, an anecdote,
history's footnote.

So enjoy your war games.
I'm going back to my life.

[Dick] Ellie? Ellie?

- Ellie!
- Need to lie down for a bit, Dad!

If you choose to live
a perverted lifestyle,

you shouldn't ask to be rewarded for it.

- [vehicle approaches]
- [dog barking]

You should have the right to live,
do and act as you please

with no one invading your bedroom.

But you should not expect the government
to reward you for your misbehavior.

So here. We're not out to deny
civil rights for anyone.

We're not out
to give special privileges...

[TV continues indistinctly]

- [panting]
- [door closes]

[cocks gun]


[indistinct whispering]

[man on TV] Well, what has Nicaragua
done to us to make you so angry?

- [Elena gasps] You're just... Dad!
- Jesus, what the hell are you doing?

- You were out?
- Right.

Where is the nurse?
You shouldn't be driving!

What am I supposed to do,
take my teeth out

and go into the nursing home?

You want a drink?

I sent her home.
She's not a real nurse anyway.

Jeez Louise.

[Elena sighs]

- Scared the shit out of me.
- [scoffs]

[TV continues]

What's this shit?

If you were interested at all
in what I'm doing as I told you before...

[changes channel]

If it pans out
the way it's supposed to pan out,

I'll be in a position to fold my hand,

take the Kitty Rex down past Largo,

and just stay there, catching fish,

bumming around the shallows,

sleeping with newly widowed...


Of course, that's not my original idea
of a good time, but...

it beats sitting around here, getting old.

Now... [exhales]

I patched things up with Sedlow.

All you have to do
is fly down there tomorrow

and make the collection for me, please.


[yells indistinctly]

[Dick] Please, Ellie.

[gunfire and yelling continues on TV]


Thank you, Jesus.

When's the last time you heard
from your mother? Pretty Kitty.

My Kit-Cat.

She should really call me more often,
you know?

[TV continues indistinctly]

- [Sedlow] That's not the deal.
- So what is our deal?

You tell me to show up, I show up.
Feels like you just trotted me around.

Can you blame me? Huh?

Look, I don't know you.

What, all of a sudden I'm just supposed
to trust you because the old man sent you?

That's not how it works.

- And what if I don't like how it works?
- [scoffs] You don't like it?

[chuckles] You don't like it?
Let me tell you something.

This isn't no fucking
restaurant review, okay?

"You don't like it."

See these crates?

All this is you now.

Is there an inventory list?

Everything is here.
They know what they're buying. Okay?

If somebody tells you something is off,

which nothing is,

you tell them to go fuck themselves.


You just make sure

that you don't take your eyes
off of any of this

until they pay.

Dick said a million in traveler's checks.

Who's dropping it? Who's counting it?
Where will you be in all this?

Somebody's going to meet you.

Your need-to-know has stopped right there.

You just be at gate J

at midnight by yourself,

ready to get on the plane
and get the deal done.


You spit when you talk.

You love it.

Why do you have a bag? Don't take a bag.
You're not staying.

You deliver the goods,
you pick up the payment,

and you get on the plane. That's my deal.

- I thought Cheers was on...
- Get the babysitter out of here.

Do you mind?

That one's not a real nurse.

The one that comes in the morning
is a nurse.

This one's a babysitter
and she steals my shoes.

- Okay, Dad...
- Don't let anybody Mickey Mouse you

into staying. You follow me?

If anyone gives you a hard time,
you just tell 'em.

Tell 'em what?

Tell 'em... God damn...


Tell 'em they have to answer
to Max Epperson,

and then you call. Promise you'll call.

- Okay. I'll call you.
- You'll call me.


[Dick exhales]



I remember.


[Dick exhales]

Must be my frequent flyer.

First class right there.

All you.

[men speaking indistinctly]

Smells like Christmas.

That makes you Mrs. Claus.

Let's see who's been naughty. Open one.

- [Elena] What?
- Open one.

Let's see what's inside.

Open it yourself.


That's not how things work.

I got nowhere particular to be, so...

it's up to you.

[Elena grunting]



Colt's classic ArmaLite rifle número 15.

To military spec.

Where did you find this shit, huh?

Three-prong suppressor,

high-impact fiber stock,

trigger-finger magazine release.

That'll work.


A Valmara 69.

Mrs. Claus, you shouldn't have!

♪ Paladin, Paladin, where do you roam? ♪

♪ Paladin, Paladin, far, far from home ♪

♪ "Have gun, will travel"
Reads the card of a man ♪

Can we hurry this up?

♪ A knight without armor
In a savage land ♪

♪ His fast gun for hire
Heeds the calling winds ♪

- [whistles]
- [dog barks]

♪ A soldier of fortune is a man called ♪


Too much Christmas, huh?!

Sixty-foot kill zone.

- [whoops]
- Are we all good?

- Yeah.
- Great. Let's settle up.

- Yeah, we're all settled, thank you.
- No, no, no. What's your name?

I didn't ask you for your name.

And you don't need to know mine.

Hey, hey, somebody was supposed to meet me
with payment.

Good luck with that.

Is this the payment?

Fly it down, fly it back.
That's my contract.

Is this the payment?

[speaking Spanish]

[speaking Spanish]

- Got what you need?
- [Elena] Shit.

Looks like you got shorted.

- Now you're short, too. We're not leaving.
- I told you, I fly it down, I fly it back.

I don't take care of cargo,
and I don't take care of passengers.

Wheels up, two minutes.

- [pants] You're supposed to pay me.
- [toilet flushes]

Now, who forgot to tell me that?

If I don't get paid, and I don't show up,

they're gonna be wondering why.

- Who's going to wonder?
- [Elena] I think you know who.

Give me a name.


Max Epperson?


What are we doing here?
Is this the pick-up?

You're doing nothing.

And what I'm doing doesn't concern you.

[speaking Spanish]

[Sandinista leader speaking Spanish
over microphone]

[speaking Spanish]

Anyone asks,
tell them that you're waiting for Jones.


[speaking Spanish]

[camera shutter clicks]

[Elena speaking Spanish]

[in English] May I take your photo?

- [camera shutter clicking]
- Beautiful.

[speaking Spanish]

[camera shutter clicking]

[speaking Spanish]

[in English] Okay. Thank you.

[Weir] Why'd you bring her here?

- You had one job, and one job only.
- [camera shutter clicks]

Driving the cattle
through the goddamn fence.

Since you're the one
who drove her to the fence,

you better manage it.

[man] Hey.

What are you doing?

What's your name?

Making friends?

[boy] Just pass!

Jones! Gonna introduce your lady?

- Only lady I see out here is you.
- [boy laughs]

♪ Till the early, early night ♪

♪ When you caught Miss Molly rocking
At the House of Blue Light ♪

[singing along] ♪ Good golly, Miss Molly ♪

♪ Sure like to ball ♪

♪ When you're rocking and you're rolling ♪

♪ Can't hear your mama call ♪

♪ Whoo ♪

♪ Mama, Papa told me
"Son, you better watch your step"... ♪

You work with Epperson before?


- And everything's going great, right?
- Just fine.


That's not what I heard.

Hey, look, I'm just passing time.

Who sent you?

Nobody sent me. Who sent you?

Maybe we should make a pit stop.

We can keep going.

- Might be nice to stop. Talk a little.
- Just drive, please.

[chair squeaks]

Nice break could do us both some good.

You know, Epperson expects me in San José
as soon as possible.

You think anyone give a shit about you
out here?

I bet you didn't even tell anybody
where you're going.

Top secret?


Let's see things for what they are.

First and foremost,

you skipped your flight.


there's nothing for you here.

Nothing back on the airstrip and nothing
ahead in San José, let's be honest.

- Third...
- [tires squeal]

- [Elena pants]
- [Jones] What the fuck?

[Elena panting]

Without fucking around,
you are gonna get out of this car.

You know how to use that thing,
fucking cocktail dress?


Slide across.


Get out of the car.

Come on.

- [Jones grunts]
- Get out of the car.

Kick the door.

And back away.

You think you're gonna get very far?

You'd be surprised.

[turns engine off]

[car door closes]


[locks doors]


[speaking Spanish]

[TV plays in Spanish]

[woman speaking Spanish]

[telephone rings]

[continues ringing]

Alma, it's me.

I need to know what you found
on Epperson.

[sighs] It's five in the morning.

[Elena] Anything on him in Managua?

[Alma sighs]


I didn't expect a pop quiz.

Uh, anything connecting him to Costa Rica?

- Is he American, is he...
- [Alma] No, listen, I...

I didn't find anything

on anyone named Max Epperson.


Like he doesn't exist.

You think that maybe your dad
got it wrong or something?

No, no, no, no, no. Jones knew the name.
I used it...

Who's Jones?

What happened? Where are you, exactly?

Listen, the plane, we landed... I don't
know where. Somewhere in Nicaragua.

It took seven hours to drive here, so...

Drive? Wait, wait, w... Where's "here"?

[Elena, speaking softly]
San José. I'm in Costa Rica.

The shipment, it was huge.

Landmines, antipersonnel weapons...

Only, it's not money they're sending back
to the mainland, it's cocaine.

And it's financing for something else.

And this guy, Jones,

I think he's in with the Sandinistas.

He's working both sides.

[sputters] That makes no sense.

[Elena] I know.

I know it was a quick decision,
staying on,

but I wanna track it from this end.

Dick wasn't in the loop on any of this.

If I'd have gone back,
things would've evaporated.

Send you what I have when I can.


something did come up
from one of the stringers down in Miami

when they were digging around
about Epperson.

A guy named Bob Weir.

Dick never mentioned anyone by that name.

Well, apparently, this Bob Weir

has a flair for showing up
in interesting situations.

He was in Guatemala, for example,
when Árbenz was overthrown.

He was in Managua
when Somoza was overthrown,

and you remember San Salvador,

the press office raid?

The editor-in-chief,
five other writers were assassinated

and guess who the last guy
to go through the door was?

So Weir's CIA?

He could be CIA, he could be an asset,
or he could just be a reliable source.

No one knows.

No one's been able
to get a read on this guy.

And he's got the kind of face
that you don't see.

All we do know about him

is when he shows up,

it's usually the end of something,
not the beginning.

And guess whose name just showed up
in Costa Rica?

Not bad for a 5:00 a.m. pop quiz,


I'll be careful.

Listen, can you, uh,
get in touch with Dick for me?

- Let him know I'll be back tomorrow.
- [Alma] All right.



And, if you please, your passport.
I need to make a copy.

[Elena] Oh. Yeah, that's fine.

Thank you.

- Here's your keys.
- Oh.

You're all set.

[dog barking in the distance]

[knocking on door]

- [woman] Cleaning.
- No, gracias.

[knocking on door]

[Weir] You're driving the cattle
through the goddamn fence.

[Jones] Anyone asks,
tell them you're waiting for Jones.

[Dick] You just missed my partner.
You know him, Epperson.

[Alma] I didn't find anything
on Max Epperson. Nothing.

You think that maybe
your dad got it wrong or something?

[telephone ringing]

[continues ringing]

[Sedlow] Hello.

You there?



Look, you don't want to talk, I get it.

How did you find me?

[chuckles] You weren't on the plane,
so where else could you be?

White woman,

middle of San José,

middle of the night,
only two hotels in town...


You don't have to be a super sleuth
to figure it out.

[sighs] Honey, relax,
you're worse than your dad.

Look, let me just ask you something.

[scoffs] You tell me something.

Who was your guy
that met the shipment in Florida?

'Cause it wasn't traveler's checks.

I know you're not doing this by yourself.

Look, take it easy, McMahon, okay?

Just back up a few steps.

The money is moving, okay?

[stammering] It's not like
buying an ice cream cone.

There's paperwork.

Fuck you, Barry!
These guys are not doing paperwork.

But you know who does do paperwork?

Uninvited guests
in DEA jackets and ATF hats.

[breathes heavily]
What's the address again?

Of the... mechanic's garage
with no wrenches?

1665 Southwest 17th Street?
You're open late, right?

It's not me calling the shots here.

[Elena] I want what my father is owed.

I want a plane ticket outta here tomorrow.

[Sedlow] You stay in the room.
Somebody will be in touch.

[Sedlow hangs up]

[Treat] You have to consider
the alternatives.

You can create a context for democracy

and maybe get your hands
a little bit dirty,

or just opt out
and let the other guy call it.

And the "other guys" being,

in this case, the Sandinistas?

- The "other guy" being socialism.
- [Alma] Ah. [chuckles]

- "Communism by any other name..."
- Mm-hmm.

Um, and, so...

to the best of your knowledge,

could it be true that...
there are certain flights, certain...

unreported humanitarian aid flights

that quietly leave
one or another southern city

with uninspected cargo...

whose destination is San José?

Flights that, of course,

don't land

in San José,
and literally fly under the radar

for the purpose of supplying arms
to these so-called Contra forces.

No. Such flights could not be occurring.

Or such flights could be occurring,
if in fact they are occurring,

outside the range of the possible
knowledge of our intelligence agencies.

So which is it?

Are they occurring
or are they not occurring?

We don't... we don't track
that kind of activity.

Could someone in the administration
have an interest in the area?


It would go without saying
that we have an interest.

[Alma] Hmm.

Well, thank you for speaking with me
on such short notice. I appreciate it.

Oh, no, no, no. I have this.

Hooray for women's lib.

[both chuckle]

May I cite you as a source
close to the White House?

No. Thank you.

- [church bells ringing]
- [birds chirping]


Everything was to your liking?

[woman speaks Spanish]

Taxi, madam?


[people chattering]

[man] Next, please.

[sighs, clears throat]

- [man] Thank you.
- [church bells ringing distortedly]

[man] Thank you.

[echoing] Thank you.

- Next, please.
- [church bells ringing distortedly]

- If you please, your passport.
- [hotel receptionist speaking Spanish]

[Sedlow] You stay in the room.
Somebody'll be in touch.

[hotel receptionist speaking Spanish]

- [echoing] Thank you.
- [Jones] Think you're gonna get very far?

[man] Next, please.

Next, please.

Step forward, please.

Purpose of your visit to Costa Rica?


How long?

Uh, uh, uh, two days ago.

The agency said I didn't need a passport,
but I got one anyway.

And the, uh, agency
gave me a tourist card,

which I gave to the officer, so...

[taxi driver] Excuse me. Hey, miss!

Miss! Miss, miss!

Miss! Hey.

Miss, you forgot your bag. Your bag.


- Yes, you forgot your bag.
- No, you're mistaken. This is not my bag.

- Here, take this.
- No, no!

- That's not my bag!
- It's yours!

- No, it's not my bag! It's not!
- Let me see that.

- [stammering] There's a luggage tag.
- No.

My name is Meyer.

[speaking Spanish]

I did... There's a tag. There's...

- [man] No, it's your bag.
- No...

Dick McMahon.

Yes, it's not my bag. I'm Elise Meyer.
[breathes heavily]

[speaking Spanish]

[speaks frantically]

Mr. McMahon's no longer here.

As I said, he's had a setback.

What do you mean, he had a setback?

He was taken to the hospital.

Wait, what?

Where was his night nurse?

There was supposed to be
somebody watching him.

- His evening care was canceled.
- By whom?

- His daughter requested the cancellation.
- No, there's been a huge mistake.

Okay, all right, listen to me.

What hospital has he been taken to?

- Are you family?
- Yes.

- Name and relationship?
- I'm his step-daughter.

- I don't see any listing.
- Tell me what hospital they took him to!

"Treat Austin Morrison,

BA, University of California, Berkeley.

Graduate, National War College.

Commissioned second lieutenant, US Army.


Treat Austin Morrison, only son,
and after his sister's suicide,

the only living child
of working-class parents.

Married one Diane Waring.


Young widower.

The man who would later become

America's man on the spot
in the world's hottest spots." [chuckles]

It all depends on where you wanna locate
the beginning of your story.

Any preference?

You know, a lot of people
get some mystical kick

out of dwelling on things
that happened 40...

45 years ago.

Sad little stories about being
misunderstood by your mother,

being snubbed at school. I-I just...

never found any use
for going over that stuff.

Not that there's anything wrong with it.

I don't think it's self-indulgent,
self-pitying, or any other damn thing.

I just can't afford it.

So I don't do it.

Ah, it doesn't matter where it begins.

You're right. [grunts]

What matters...

is what happens next.

What's the next line going to read?

No line. Berquist wants it deleted.

Berquist is a... [sighs]

A legislative branch kind of man.

The most he can ever hope for,
and he won't succeed,

is the House of Reps.

Not the Senate, because nobody likes him.

All he'll ever be is one out of 435.

But you...

You're an executive branch kind of man,

This office,

or a bigger one a whole lot like it,
that's what I bet.


Don't get in the way of Berquist's agenda.

[Shultz] If it doesn't serve you.

I think Berkie's little side project...

will serve you in a way
you have not yet foreseen.

Let him get his hands dirty.

- [eating] He's aiming for one out of 435.
- Very good.

You're aiming for one out of one.


[eating] Just remember...

You, me, Berquist...

we're all having the same dish.

But you'd be better off...

[smacks tongue]

Using a spoon.

Scrape down the sides,

no remainders.

Nothing missed.

[vendors speaking indistinctly]

[horn honks]

- [rain pattering]
- [news plays on radio]

At what hotel are you staying?


Yeah, Ramada,

uh, Royale Caribe, InterCon...

Ramada. Ramada.

[keys jangling]

[engine turns over]

We had a real life, and now we don't.

And just because I'm your daughter,
I'm supposed to like it, and I don't.

- Cat...
- [Cat] No.

What exactly did you have in Malibu
that you don't have now?

You could open the door
and be at the beach,

in the Jacuzzi, or the tennis court.

[sighs] Anything else?

The three cars. We had three cars.


A Jacuzzi, a tennis court, and three cars.
Is that your idea of a real life?


[Elena] I'm sorry, sweetie, that wasn't...
That wasn't what I...

[cries] My father. I had my father,
thank you very much.

[dial tone]

[indistinct radio chatter]

[upbeat music plays]


Checking in. McMahon, Elena.
I called earlier.

Fresh cut coco!

Fresh cut coco!

Fresh cut coco!

Fresh cut coco!

Fresh cut coco!



[Caribbean music plays]


[woman] Name tag?

Happy Fourth of July. Name tag?

Happy Fourth of July.

Happy Fourth of July.

Tomorrow morning is too late.
I need to speak to someone now.

I-I need the passport immediately
so I can return to the States.

Ma'am, I'm sorry. All offices are closed
today for the Fourth of July picnic.

That's happening here, right?

- Yes, ma'am.
- So I can speak to someone now.

No, ma'am,
there are no appointments today.

But I wouldn't need an appointment to just
speak to someone at the picnic, right?

Theoretically, ma'am,
but I can't let you in without a passport.

[sobs] Wh... Just...

Fine, fine.

["Take It From Someone Who Knows" plays]

♪ Nothing at all ♪

♪ And you've got to take it ♪

♪ From a loser ♪

♪ From a loser ♪

♪ Why don't you take it ♪

What can I get started for you?

[Treat] I'll have an Early Times
and soda, please.

- ♪ From a loser ♪
- ♪ Take it from someone who knows ♪

♪ I know how it is to lose that love ♪

I was just leaving.

Too late now.

Is that a last meal?

[Treat chuckles]

Thank you.

Read any news today?

[Treat] Mmm...

Interesting scoop from a friendly agent
about a woman no one seems to know.

No record of departing the States,
brief stay at a hotel in San José,

false passport,
slipped past Antiguan Immigration.


You ready to go on record
with any of that, Mr. Morrison?

Already have.

Reporter by the name of Guerrero,
Atlantic Post.

So you're connected. [chuckles]

Well, my usual target's been out of touch,
but I hear she's...

Is it normal for you to be a step behind?

Wait for someone like me to be in a bind,

squeeze a bit of distress into the math
so it feels urgent all of a sudden?

[Treat laughs]

Something you can sink
your well-filed teeth into

while a secretary forwards your calls?

Could be.

But if you had to pick someone
with a byline

to drop classified intel with,

wouldn't you pick you?

Pennsylvania Avenue reporter
with a moral compass

capable of pointing off the campaign trail

and delivering a load of munitions
in South America? [chuckles]

Must be worth reading.

You think?

I didn't realize you quasi-spook types
did any reading.

Not the brightest move,
showing up at the embassy.

In a perfect world,
we'd make perfect choices.

In the real world, we make real choices.

It's not a zero-sum deal.

Wasn't that your entire thesis
at last year's presentation

to the Council on Foreign Relations?

Did you cover that?

I covered many interesting happenings
before my desk got frozen

and I was relegated
to following around the circus,

filing white propaganda
about all the elephant shit.

[chuckles] Okay. Fair enough.

[clears throat]

Tell you what.

Let's, uh...

talk about other interesting happenings.

♪ From a loser ♪

[Elena] Dick McMahon's my father.

I took his place on a ghost plane
out of Fort Lauderdale on June 29th,

1:20 in the morning.

A big-bellied Lockheed

with enough guns, bullets, mines, and C-4
to take Managua.


I hustled into the open.

No payday.

No protection. No plan.

Just a game no one let me in on.

A secret war.

Now I got a passport with a trick
built into it and no ticket home.

[Treat] That I know.

What I don't know is
why you're still here.

I came for the money.

Stayed for the scoop.

Nice try.

I came for my father,
stayed for the story.


[inhales sharply]

All right.

I don't know why I came.

But I stayed...

I... stayed because I was losing focus.

I can feel it happening again.

I was...

[breathes raggedly] I was losing...

momentum on Catherine, my daughter.

And I knew that if I...

[instrumental music plays]

Walked away from this...

I would just...

I would just walk away from everything.
I would just...

walk away.

And all I want to know...

is what you're doing here.

What you're doing in the picture.


if not stirring the pot?

[Treat] I thought you were the one.

[Elena] I thought you were the one.

I thought you were the one
they sent to kill me.

[Elena sighs]

I was ready.


Diane had a scar like this.

Then she just went. [sighs]

"The seal's wide spindrift gaze..."


"Galleons of Carib fire..."

Something, something.

"The seal's wide spindrift gaze
towards paradise."

Diane loved poetry.

[Elena breathes deeply]


Back from the tunnel
and half in love with death.

[Elena sighs]


Tomorrow what?

Tomorrow we leave.

- [Caribbean music plays]
- [people chattering]

- [man] Come on. Give me this.
- [woman] What? No.

- [man] This is the second time.
- [woman] Can you give it back?

[man] No. Come on.

- Yes.
- No.

- No.
- Listen, you can't sell here. No.

- [woman] Can I sell this?
- [man] No, you can't sell this. No.

- Chalatenango. Unbelievable.
- This is the second time.

Shit, at least when you drive a stake
through a vampire's heart,

- the fucker dies.
- Hey.

[timestamp clicks]

See you tomorrow.

- [man] Good time, man
- [woman] Yeah, man.

- [man] Have a good night.
- [woman] Catch you later.

Coming in tomorrow?

- No.
- Give it back to me!


- Elena!
- [gunfire]


[gunfire continues]

[man over PA]
Guests, please stay in your rooms...

[continues indistinctly]

[sirens wailing in the distance]

[cocks gun]

Your countrymen aren't your countrymen.
There's no reason you should be here.

But you can't tell me who you are
or how you know any of this.

I think they just spelled the story out
in bullets, yes?

[tires squeal]

[swearing in French]

[Caribbean music plays]

[tires squealing]

[honks horn] Through there! Through there!
Make we pass!

Make we pass! [honks horn]

Hey, make we pass, brethren!

Hey, make we pass, through there!




[continues honking]



[people shouting]

[Jones] Don't you see?

They had to give your father
a figure big enough to lure him out.

A magical million-dollar payday.

He's a half-crazy old man
in a sick season.

- My father is not...
- [Jones] He's a man

with a well-documented history

of not caring
where his merchandise showed up.

And so, he's a man very easily placed

on the wrong side
of whatever was supposed to happen.

"Gunrunner bleeds out in...

in... in terrorist attack
at Caribbean resort."

So what?

Who would miss him?

Who would care?


File closed.

Finished and done.

[laughs] But you...

You, Elena...

But you showed up instead.

And the file is still closing.

All the little scraps and pieces
being assembled for the archive,

to be forgotten.

And yours is the last name on it.

The passport, it...

The only trick of the passport
was to keep you in play.

You could have got on a plane
and left this place.

No, the passport wouldn't be valid
for re-entry to the US,

at which point you would have been taken.

Rescued, rather, by the authorities,
which gave you more of a reason to leave.

But no.

You... you're still here.

All I have left is this story, I admit it.

Do you know who...

the unreported casualties of...

of Vietnam were?

The reporters...

who couldn't move past it.

[man] Hey, Jones.

All clear.

You can stay here.
There's a phone across the square.

One day, maybe two.

I'll talk with my comrades
on getting us a boat.

We are meant to survive
beyond our stories.

[door closes]

[chatting indistinctly]


[typewriter keys clacking]

[telephone rings]

Guerrero speaking.

- It's me.
- [Alma] Elena?

Call Catherine's father. Call Wynn.

When you hang up with me, call him.

Tell him to go to Catherine's school.
Tell him to go get her.

Tell him not to send anybody.
Tell him he's gotta go himself, in person.

And tell him I need him to keep her,
just until I get back.

Done. Ellie...

Dick is dead.

I know.

[Alma] They moved him
the night after you left.

The hospital wouldn't let me see him.

And then I wasn't sure
if I should reach you

or if reaching you
would expose you, but...

I'm sorry, Elena.

But listen.

My sources are telling me that there is
a French intelligence operative down there

investigating the same thing that we are.

Okay? I don't have a name yet,

but they could get you a special visa
and get you out of there.

[sighs] These people
are starting to move faster.

The InterCon assassination attempt...

- I was there.
- [Alma] I know.

I know. Look, we're all over it down here.
But you should be safe for now.

They're beefing up the military presence.

No, the military was already there
in full force before the attempt.

They knew it was coming.

And I was meant to be there.

Two birds, one stone. The file closes.

[Alma] What?

The date on my bogus passport's
the same day Dick died.

[Alma] Okay, calm down.

Listen. Just stay where you are for now.

"Gunrunner bleeds out
in terrorist attack."

You showed up instead.

[Alma] Hello? Elena?

Elena? Hello?




There are two things
I need you to know right away.

The first thing I need you to know
is that you get to go back to Malibu.

Your dad's coming to pick you up.

Do not go with anyone except your dad.
Do you understand?

The second thing I need you to know...

is that I love you.

Sometimes... [inhales]

We argue and... about things, but I...

I think you know...

I only argue because
I want your life to be happy and good.

[cries] Want you not to waste your time.

Not to waste your talent.

Not to let who you are get mixed up

with anyone else's idea
of who you should be.

I know you're nodding.

I love you the most. You're my Kit-Cat.


[sighs] Okay.

Everything's set. A car will take you.

His name is Paul.

He's expecting you.

No one will look for you there.
Now, I've been working with the consulate.

We're gonna extract you
in the next few days.

If anything happens, don't come to me.
It's too dangerous for you here.

I'll come to you. Okay?

Can I help you?


Uh, I'm Elise.

Elise Meyer.

Highly recommended Elise Meyer of Miami?


Get up here.
Let's get you started already.

Who wants to be sitting around
a bunch of jarheaded machos downtown

when you can live
right on the edge of paradise?

So, this job is not complicated at all.

Each day, 10:00 a.m. sharp,


pick us up fruit from the vendor
at Heritage Market.

I can get it from closer.

No, Heritage Market. Thank you.

Guavas from the stall near the entrance.

Uh, pick us up newspapers
from the little woman two streets over.

And get all the newspapers.
I like to be well-read.

Plus, when guests come,
we want to be prepared.

And, uh, let me see.

We have a cook,


who comes every day at five
and handles supper,

so you don't need to worry about that.

But just, you know...

tidy things.

I could wipe the chairs.

They said you were sharp.

[singing along]
♪ I ain't never seen a man ♪

♪ Do the things that... ♪

Do you know this?

Gary Geld, composer.
Peter Udell and Ossie Davis did the book.

It's delicious.

Melba Moore version was my favorite.

Melba Moore was criminally underrated.

Pas de critics.

So anyway, all that should take you
through 2:00 p.m. every day.

And no shortcuts.

Pas de shortcuts.

After that, your day is your own.

Isn't this lovely?

What could be lovelier?

Take the day.

Get settled in.

Oh, and, uh...

be kind to the generator.

We need lights, but not every day.

I only do the petrol run once a week
and I want to keep it that way.


[Paul] Elise, happy hour!


[Paul] Happy, happy hour.

[Paul] It was complicated.

I could tell you stories.

- [Elena chuckles] No.
- I'm not gonna say any names, but...

if I did tell you the names,

- you'd recognize every single one of them.
- [laughs]

And then, there was Haiti,

which I adored.

I was mostly single there, of course.

Just a man about town.

I ran the first, and...

for all I care to know, the only

first-rate gay bathhouse
in all of Port-au-Prince.

And again, no names,

but my patrons were some of the most
major operators on Wall Street,

the hottest of the hot, motion picture,

and agents and executives.

I mean, the biggest.

Of all the places, you know?

I feel like that...

could have been the place.

But then I got scared away

when dead chickens
started showing up on my gate.

I mean, I may not be
the smartest Nellie on the block,

but, hey, when I see a dead chicken,

I know what it means.

I know how to take a hint.

Pas de poulet.

Pas de voodoo.


Pas de Port-au-Prince,

so I ended up here.

Bob set me up.

[dramatic music plays]

We did a great business.

Every room was filled
every single weekend.

And for a while, we ran a beautiful trade
with the European set.

But then, a few neighbor-island
coups and bombings later,

it trickled down to the backpackers,
and then...

several State Department warnings later,
and we were down to this.

So, why did you stay?

Why are you still here?

I could ask you the same question.

But me, I...

I guess I stayed because I have a very,


Very high tolerance for pleasure.

[crickets chirping]

Tell Evelina to set the table
for three tonight.

My friend is coming.

Who's that?

My friend. The one I told you about?



The other friend.

Be a dear, fetch me a refill.

[keys jangling]

[Paul] I mean,
it's not like the vacancy sign

isn't burning a hole
in my electric bill or anything.

Like I keep telling you,
there's people I know who can help you.

People we've met here in the past.

I say, sure, take a room.

Fill it with whatever on earth you want.

Rum punch?

Be a dear, leave it on the side, Elena.

Move it in, move it out, who cares?

Just cut me in.

Drop me a bit of this Colombian jet fuel
from weekend to weekend and I'll be sweet.

We've done this before.
[stammering] I told you... in the past.

I can create your future for you.

[keys jangling]

[Paul] Elise!

[Paul groans]

[yells] Elise!

Oh, fuck it.


Wipe the chairs, Elise.

[Treat] If anything happens, don't come
to me. It's not safe for you here anymore.

I'll come to you.

[Weir] Does she know something?

- Did you tell her something?
- [Paul] Of course I didn't tell her.

Don't do it the hard way.

You could ride the cattle
right through the fence.

...driving the cattle
through the goddamn fence.

You just missed my partner.
You know him, Epperson.

- [Elena] I don't know him.
- [Dick] Yeah, you do. You remember.

Hey, Maxie.

- Make with the grill and lay on some chow.
- Hey, Ellie.

The sparks won't burn you because...

they're cold.

[Alma] Epperson. Like he doesn't exist.

- A guy named Bob Weir did come up.
- [fireworks exploding]

Bob set me up.

[Alma] When he does show up,

it's usually the end of something,
not the beginning.

[Paul] Elise?

Is that you?

She'll be back up later.


He's there.

Bob Weir.

Oh, fuck. Come in.

[Elena] Out beyond the ocean.

All salt-heavy and thick with fish.

What do think's out there?

[Treat] Suppose there's nothing out there,

No there.

Plane will be there
at eight o'clock tomorrow.

An unmarked will take you to the airstrip.
It's ours. You'll be safe.

I'm gonna stay a few days till everything
levels out, clear some smoke.

Says the secret agent man
as he walks into the fire.

Easy Rider of the geopolitic,

too cool for the press pool.

Stop. True reporter.

[Elena chuckles]

Pure spin.

Pick you up at the cove
by the Surfrider at 6:00.

Make sure you have your notes
and the film.

Otherwise it's all fucked anyway.

Unless you think they already found them
and it's too late.

No, I stashed them.


[Elena] I'll try to be home
before school starts.

[Cat] Home where?

[Elena] Home wherever you are, Cat.

I'll call you tomorrow
before I get on the plane.

Tomorrow when?

[Elena] Probably three o'clock your time.

I'll be there.

[Cat] Promise?

[Elena] Okay.

I promise.

[Cat] I'll be waiting.

[music recording skipping]

[wind blowing]

[beeping dial tone]

[footsteps approaching]

[beeping dial tone]




[automated voice] make a call,
please hang up and try again.

If you need help, hang up,
and then dial your operator.

[beeping melody]

If you'd like to make a call,
please hang up and try again.

If you need help, hang up,
and then dial your operator.

[beeping melody]

If you'd like to make a call,
please hang up and try again.

[Elena] Some real things
have happened lately.

[Elena] First, I wanted to know who.

Who chose money over life?

Steel and lead over blood and spirit?

Who the war pig?

Who the profiteer?

Who the cold heart, the vapid soul?

[Treat] Elena!

[Elena] And second...


Second, I wanted to know why.

[Treat] Tomorrow.

[Elena] Tomorrow what?

Tomorrow we leave.

- [gunfire]
- [people screaming]

[Treat] The suspect then wheeled on me,

pulling a firearm...

wounding me in the shoulder.

I returned fire...

in course, killing her.

I think... [sighs]

I think she knew she was caught.

You know...

you think you have it covered,

and find out you don't have it covered
worth a goddamn.

[man clears throat]

It added all up, but...

it won't bring her back.

[Jones speaking French] Elise Meyer.

Elena Janklow.

Elena McMahon.

Alleged assassin.



Mother. Daughter.

Sandinista sympathizer.

[speaking French] Unfortunately,
our initial attempt at interception...

[in English] This way, please.

[in French] ...was unsuccessful.



[Jones speaking French] Some would say
she was waiting for a payday.

Some would say
she was caught in the glare.

[typewriter keys clacking]

I think Elena McMahon
got caught in the glare.

The water was over her head.

I think she realized
what she had been set up to do

only in however many seconds there were

between the time
she registered Morrison on the bluff...

and when he pulled the trigger.

[man] Why'd she do it?

I don't have an answer
for that kind of tragedy.

The truth is,
it's just a hell of a bad outcome.

The last outcome
you would ever have wanted.

[Elena] Some real things
have happened lately.

But we were moving fast.

We were traveling light.

We were younger.

I was younger.

"All part of...

history's rough draft," we used to say.

History's footnote.

And yet...


["The Ballad of Paladin" plays]

♪ Paladin, Paladin, where do you roam? ♪

♪ Paladin, Paladin, far, far from home ♪

♪ "Have gun, will travel"
Reads the card of a man ♪

♪ A knight without armor
In a savage land ♪

♪ His fast gun for hire
Heeds the calling wind ♪

♪ A soldier of fortune is a man called ♪

♪ Paladin ♪

♪ Paladin, Paladin, where do you roam? ♪

♪ Paladin, Paladin, far, far from home ♪

♪ He travels on to wherever he must ♪

♪ A chess knight of silver
Is his badge of trust ♪

♪ There are campfire legends
That the plainsmen sing ♪

♪ Of the man with the gun ♪

♪ Of the man called ♪

♪ Paladin ♪

♪ Paladin, Paladin, where do you roam? ♪

♪ Paladin, Paladin, far, far from home ♪

♪ Far from home ♪

♪ Far from home ♪

[instrumental music plays]