Showcase: Stretch O’Brien: Earth-Two Romance, Chapter 9: The Standoff

by Starsky Hutch 76, adapted from True Romance, screenplay by Quentin Tarantino

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Inside the elevator, Ape-Face’s four wise guys were riding up to the floor where Lee Donowitz’s room was. All their guns were drawn and ready. “No prisoners,” Lenny said.


Back in Lee’s room, they continued to negotiate. “What’s your part in this?” Lee said, pointing to Maggie O’Brien.

“I’m his wife,” Maggie answered with a sweet smile.

“How ’bout you?” Lee asked Dick Ritchie.

“I know Elliot,” Dick said.

“And Elliot knows me,” Lee said. “Tell me, Stretch, what department does your friend’s big brother work in?” Dick and Maggie started to panic.

“Carson County Sheriffs,” Stretch O’Brien said without missing a beat. Back in the cops’ room, the Internal Affairs officers high fived.

Monty brought in a briefcase of money and put it down on the table. “Wanna count your money?” Lee asked.

“Actually, they can count it,” Stretch said, nodding toward Maggie and Dick. “I’d like to use the little boy’s room.”


In the cops’ room, they all stood as they prepared their weapons. “OK, boys. Let’s go get ’em,” Nicky Dimes said.


Stretch stepped inside the bathroom and shut the door behind him. As soon as it was shut, he started doing the twist. He couldn’t believe he’d pulled it off. He went to the toilet and then looked over and saw Elvis sitting on the sink.

“Stretch, I gotta hand it to ya. You were cooler than cool,” Elvis said.

“I was dying,” Stretch said. “I thought for sure everyone could see it on my face.”

“All anybody saw was Clint Eastwood drinkin’ coffee,” Elvis said.

“Can you develop an ulcer in two minutes?” Stretch laughed. “Being cool is hard on your body.”

“Oh, and your line to Charles Atlas in there: ‘I’ll take that gun,’ ‘You’ll have to,'” Elvis quoted.

“That was cool, wasn’t it?” Stretch said. “You know, I don’t even know where that came from. I just opened my mouth, and it came out. After I said it, I thought, that’s a cool line, I gotta remember that.”


Back in the living room, the calm was suddenly broken as Nicholson, Dimes, and the four police detectives burst into the room with guns drawn. “Police! Freeze! You’re all under arrest!” Everybody at the table stood up. Boris and Monty stood ready with the uzis.

“You two! Put the guns on the floor and back away,” Dimes said loudly.

“$%^& you!” Monty screamed. “All you pigs put your guns on the floor and back away.”

“Monty, what are you talking about?!” Lee exclaimed. “Do what they say.”

“This is your last warning!” Dimes shouted. “Drop those guns!”

This is your last warning!” Boris shouted back. “We could kill all six of ya, and ya know it! Now get on the floor!”

“What the hell am I doing here?” Dick yelped, diving to the floor.

“Boris! Everybody’s gonna get killed!” Lee sputtered. “They’re cops!”

“So they’re cops. Who gives a $#&%?” Monty shouted.

“Lee, something I never told you about me. I don’t like cops,” Boris growled.

“OK, let’s everybody calm down and get nice,” Cody Nicholson said, “Nobody has to die. We don’t want it, and you don’t want it.”

“We don’t want it,” Lee nodded vigorously.

The four soldiers of the Gorilla Mob, unaware of the situation inside, suddenly burst through the door, shotguns drawn, except for Frankie, who had two .45 automatics, one in each hand. Half of the cops spun around.

“Freeze!” Wurlitzer shouted.

“Who are you guys?” Lenny snarled.

“Police,” Wurlitzer said.

Dario turned to Lenny and said, “Do we get any extra if we have to kill cops?”


In the bathroom, Stretch was still talking to Elvis. “How do you think I’m doin’ with Lee?” Stretch asked.

“Are you kiddin’? He loves you,” Elvis said.

“You don’t think I’m kissin’ up, do you?”

“You’re tellin’ him what he wants to hear, but that ain’t the same thing as kissin’ up,” Elvis said.

“I’m not lyin’ to him. I mean it. I loved Coming Home in a Body Bag,” Stretch said.

“That’s why it doesn’t come across as kissin’ up,” Elvis said, “because it’s genuine, and he can see that.” Elvis fixed Stretch’s collar.

Elvis pointed at Stretch. “I like ya, Stretch. Always have.”


In Lee’s hotel room, it was a Mexican standoff if there ever was one — gangsters on one end with shotguns, bodyguards with machine guns on the other, and cops with handguns in the middle. Dick was ready to pass out. Maggie was so scared she nearly peed on herself.

For Elliot, this had been the worst day of his life, and he had just about had it. “Officer Dimes? Officer Dimes,” Elliot said. Dimes looked at Elliot. “This has nothing to do with me anymore. Can I just leave and you guys just settle it by yourselves?”

“Elliot, shut up and stay put!”

“How did you know his name?” Lee shouted. He turned to Dimes. “How did he know your name?” Then he turned back to Elliot. “Why, you…!”

“Lee, understand, I didn’t want to…” Elliot said, holding up his hands.

“Shut up!” Dimes shouted.

“Well, I hope you’re not planning on acting any time in the next twenty years, ’cause your career is over as of now! You might as well burn your SAG card! To think I treated you as a son! And you stabbed me in the heart!” Lee couldn’t control his anger anymore. He grabbed the coffee pot off the table and flung hot coffee into Elliot’s face. Elliot screamed and fell to his knees.

Instinctively, Nicholson shot Lee twice. Maggie screamed.

Boris let loose with his Uzi, painting Nicholson red with bullets.

Cody!” Dimes screamed.

Nicholson flew backward. Marvin fired his shotgun, hitting Nicholson in the back; his body jerked back and forth on the floor.


Stretch O’Brien opened the bathroom door as Nicky Dimes hit the ground firing. A shot caught Stretch in the forehead. Maggie screamed as Stretch fell back into the bathroom, smashing the mirror.

It might have been a standoff before, but once the firing started, everyone either hit the ground or ran for cover. Dimes, Maggie, Dick, Lenny, an I.A. officer, and Wurtlitzer hit the ground.

Boris dived into the kitchen area. Monty tipped the table over. Marvin dived behind the sofa. Dario ran out the door and down the hall.

With bullets flying this way and that, some didn’t have time to do anything. Two I.A. officers were shot right away. Frankie took an uzi hit. He went down firing both automatics. Elliot got it from both sides.

Maggie crawled across the floor, like a soldier in war, toward the bathroom. Stretch lay across the sink, twitching. He moved and fell off. Maggie, seeing this, screamed again and continued crawling toward him.

Marvin brought his sawed-off from behind the sofa and fired. The shotgun blast hit the glass table and Monty. Monty stood up, screaming.

The cops on the ground let loose, firing into Monty. As Monty got hit, his finger hit the trigger of the Uzi, spreading fire all over the apartment.


Outside the Beverly Wilshire, cop cars started arriving in twos in front of the hotel. The building was filled with the wail of their sirens.


Inside, Maggie O’Brien kept crawling. The suitcase full of cocaine was by Dick Ritchie. He grabbed it and tossed it in the air. Marvin came from behind the sofa and fired. The suitcase was hit in midair. White powder went everywhere. The room was enveloped in cocaine.

Dick took this cue and made a dash out the door. An I.A. officer went after him. Lenny made a break for it. Wurlitzer went after him, but was pinned down by Marvin.

Maggie reached the bathroom and found Stretch. “Sweety?” he said weakly. “I… I can’t see you…” She saw the bullet hole in his forehead and pulled him to her and wept.

Dario ran down the hall, right into a cluster of uniformed police. He fired his shotgun, hitting two, just before the others chopped him to ribbons.

In another hallway of the Beverly Wilshire, footsteps could be heard, approaching fast. Dick came around the corner, running as if on fire. An I.A. officer turned the same corner in hot pursuit.

“Freeze!” the I.A. officer shouted, aiming his gun.

Dick froze. “I’m unarmed!” he yelled.

“Put your hands on your head, you #$%#$%#!” the I.A. officer shouted. Dick obeyed. Then a shotgun blast suddenly tore into the I.A. officer, flinging him to the wall.

“Oh, $%^&!” Dick yelled. He started running again when Lenny turned around the corner and ran down the hall. Dick ran into the elevator area, hitting the button; he was trapped, like it was a box. Lenny caught up. Dick raised his hands, and Lenny aimed his sawed-off shotgun.

“Look, I don’t know who you are, but whatever it was that I did to you, I’m sorry!” Dick said in a panicked voice.

Two elevator doors on either side of them suddenly opened. Lenny looked at Dick. He dropped his aim and said, “Lotsa luck, kid.”

Lenny dived into one elevator car. Dick jumped into the other, just as the doors closed.


Back in the hotel room, the Mexican stand-off had become two different groups of two pinning each other down. Wurlitzer had Marvin pinned down behind the sofa, and Dimes had Boris pinned down in the kitchen.

In the bathroom, Maggie slapped Stretch’s face, trying to wake him up. It wasn’t working. She slapped him hard in the face a couple more times. “Wake up, damn it! Don’t you die!”

Dimes discarded his handgun and pulled one of the sawed-off shotguns from the grip of a dead wise guy. Boris peeked around the wall to fire, and Dimes let loose with a blast. A scream was heard. “I’m shot! Stop!”

“Throw out your gun, @$$#*&!” Dimes shouted. The uzi was tossed out.

Dimes went to where Wurlitzer was and yelled to Marvin. “OK, black jacket! It’s two against one now! Toss the gun and lie face down on the floor, or die like all your friends.” The shotgun was tossed out from behind the sofa.


Dick sat on the floor of the elevator in blind panic. He couldn’t believe any of this. The doors opened on the fourth floor. He ran out into the hallway and started trying the room doors for an open one. “Oh, God, if you just get me outta this, I swear to God I’ll never do anything like this again. Please, just let me get to my Blackhawks audition on Monday.”

He finally came to an unlocked one and stepped in. Three gorgeous girls were doing a killer aerobics workout to a video on TV. The music was so loud, and they were so into their exercises, that they didn’t hear Dick tiptoe behind them and crawl underneath the bed.


Back in Lee Donowitz’s room, Boris had caught a lot of buckshots, but he would live. He was lying on the kitchen floor. Dimes stood over him, the sawed-off shotgun in his hand.

“Don’t even give me an excuse,” Dimes said. He patted him down for other weapons, but there were none. Wurlitzer puts the cuffs on Marvin and sat him down on the couch.

Dimes looked in the bathroom and saw the unmoving Stretch O’Brien with Maggie crying over him. He walked over to Wurlitzer. “Everything’s under control here.”

“Sorry about Nicholson,” Wurlitzer said.

“Me, too,” Dimes said, grimacing.

“I’m gonna go see what’s goin’ on outside,” Wurlitzer said.

“You do that,” Dimes said, picking up the phone as Wurlitzer left.

Shotgun in hand, Lenny moved hurriedly down the lobby. A cop yelled out, “You! Stop!”

Lenny brought up his sawed-off and let him have it. Other cops rushed forward. Lenny grabbed a woman standing nearby. “Get back, or I’ll blow her brains to kingdom come!”


Nicky Dimes was on the phone talking with the department. Boris was still moving on the floor. Marvin was sitting on the couch with his hands cuffed behind his back. Maggie O’Brien was crying over Stretch when she felt something in his jacket. She reached in and pulled out his .38. Then, suddenly, Stretch moved.

Maggie watched in amazement as the bullet slowly began to push forth from the bullet hole. It continued to work its way out until it finally rolled off his forehead. The bullet hole was little more than a dimple, which then faded away. All that remained was an enormous lump from the impact of being shot with a high-caliber weapon.

She stepped out of the bathroom, helping Stretch with one arm and holding his gun with the other. “Don’t worry, sweety. I’m gonna get us out of here.”

Marvin turned his head toward her. She pointed the gun at him. Dimes, still on the phone, spun around in time to see her raising her gun.

“Don’t be stupid, lady,” Dimes said. “We’re cops.”

To Maggie’s shock, Stretch briefly regained consciousness and shot an elongated arm out, knocking both cops out with a swing of his enlarged fist. His work done, he then slumped back into unconsciousness. She started to leave and then spotted the briefcase full of money. She took it and walked them out the door.

In the hallway, the elevator opened, and Wurlitzer stepped out just as Maggie was coming around the corner carrying Stretch. “Hey, you!” Wurlitzer yelled at her.

Maggie turned to Stretch and gently shook him. “I need you to wake up for a sec, sugar doodle.” Seconds later, she and Stretch stepped into the elevator, and the doors closed.

Maggie entered the lobby and proceeded to walk out. In the background, cops were all over the place, and Lenny was still yelling with the woman hostage.

“I wanna car here, takin’ me to the airport, with a plane full of gas ready to take me to Kilimanjaro, and… and a million bucks!” Lenny shouted. “Small bills!” All eyes were on Lenny, so Maggie and Stretch were virtually ignored.

Maggie put the briefcase in the trunk of Stretch’s Mustang. She got into the Mustang, turned the ignition, and drove fast down the freeway.

She looked over at her sleeping husband and couldn’t believe how peaceful he looked after everything they’d been through. On an impulse, she reached over to tweak his cheek. The car swerved, and his cheek stretched out a good five or six inches and shot back with an elastic snap without waking him. Maggie let out a surprised but delighted giggle and said, “That’s my baby.” She switched on the radio, and Viva Las Vegas by Elvis Presley came on, and all seemed right with the world.

The End

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