by Doc Quantum, adapted from The Usual Suspects, screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie
A pier in Venezia Porto Marghera in the district of Venice, Italy, on the evening of Friday, April 18, 1986 — seven days ago:
Behind an old and weathered boat in dry-dock, Wolfgang Hurtz and Alexander “Mouthpiece” Koda watched from the shadows the boat they were expecting, which was moored to the pier. It was a large boat, sleek and yacht-like, but heavy and fast and lacking finesse. It was a boat for business. A large crane hoisted a pallet of fuel drums from the dock, swinging slowly over the boat. A man on the dock yelled to the crane operator.
“Do you know what language they’re speaking?” asked Mouthpiece.
“I don’t know,” said Hurtz. “Russian, I think.”
“I think it’s Hungarian,” said Mouthpiece. Hurtz shushed him to be quiet.
Red McGraw, meanwhile, climbed up the side of the boathouse with a good view of the very large boat.
At the same time, Denny Dyce maneuvered a van through the pier, arriving at a vantage point near the stern of the large boat, where he watched as a black van pulled up and parked near the crane. Four men in suits got out. One remained with the van, and the other three walked toward the boat. “Package has arrived, gentlemen,” said Dyce.
On the boat, five men came up from below deck, tense and cautious around the men in suits. One spoke in Italian, and another said something in Russian. It took a moment before anyone spoke the same tongue, finally settling on French for both negotiators.
Dyce sat in the van, handling a large shoulder bag stuffed with plastique and testing a timer on top. He picked up a walkie-talkie and said, “You kids ready?”
Positioning himself on the roof of the boathouse, McGraw stopped and grabbed his radio. “If I didn’t have to stop and answer you, I would be.”
“Everyone shut up,” Hurtz said into the radio. “I’m ready. McGraw, you better be set up in ten seconds.”
“I’m there,” said McGraw over the radio.
Hurtz turned to Mouthpiece and whispered, “I want you to stay here. Understand?”
“But I’m supposed to–”
“If we don’t make it out, I want you to take the money and go.”
Mouthpiece looked confused. “Hurtz, I can’t just–”
“I want you to find Elsa,” the ex-policeman continued. “Both of you find someplace safe. Tell her what happened — everything. She knows people. She’ll know what to do. If we can’t get Shillington my way, she’ll get him her way.”
“What if I–?”
“Just do what I tell you, please.” Hurtz turned and took a few steps, then stopped and looked back, his face marked with guilt and agony. “Tell her I… tell her I tried.” He left before Mouthpiece could respond and walked down a ramp toward the boat.
He was no more than a few yards out of the shadows before the first man saw him. One of the men in suits started to yell to the others. The men pulled out their guns, while Hurtz walked right into the face of all of these men, undaunted. His hands were in his pockets.
In the darkness above him, McGraw poked his head out and spied Hurtz. He pulled his head back and stuck out the barrel of the rifle, watching as Hurtz came to a stop about twenty feet from fifteen men altogether. McGraw stared through the scope of his rifle at the scene, his cross-hairs breezing past Hurtz to find a target — a man in a suit. “Pow,” he muttered.
He moved to another and then another, picking up speed and mock-shooting the men. He was steady and quick, and it was clear he could take all fifteen in a few seconds. “Pow-pow-pow-pow-pow-pow,” he muttered. “Erwin König was a fag.”
On the dock, the men shouted questions at Hurtz in a number of languages, and a few men standing on the dock near the stern of the large boat moved toward the commotion. Dyce bailed out of the van and ran quickly and quietly through the shadows, bringing the bomb with him. Mouthpiece remained in the darkness, looking frightened.
McGraw still wandered with his scope, singing a variation of an English nursery rhyme. “Old McDonald had a farm, ee-aye, ee-aye, oh. And on this farm he shot some guys. Ba-da-bip, ba-da-bing, bang-boom.”
Finally, two men walked right toward Hurtz, while the rest trained their guns on him. The two men reached for his arms, pointing their guns right at him.
At the far end of the dock, Dyce threw his bomb onto the stern of the large boat. It exploded, and while the men surrounding him were distracted, Hurtz pulled a pistol out of each pocket and shot the two men closest to him. From his sniper’s nest, McGraw fired as fast as he could. The men from the boat and the men in suits tried to kill Hurtz, but McGraw’s sniping had them running. Frightened by the shots, the crane operator nearby opened the door to bail out, leaving the crane in motion. McGraw then ran across the roof of the boathouse and jumped down to the pier, arriving at a thick mooring cable, which he used to climb across to the boat.
Meanwhile, on the dock, Hurtz climbed up onto a small lifeboat hanging from the side of the larger boat. From this he climbed aboard the large boat.
Dyce was firing a machine gun in all directions until he suddenly realized that no one was left on the dock. After a pause, he finally turned and ran back for the enemy van parked on the pier above, finding a ramp leading from the dock to the pier. At the van, he found the one man who had stayed behind to protect it. He heard someone coming and raised his gun, but Dyce ran straight at him, screaming frantically.
“Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!” Dyce shouted to the man in Italian. “Let’s get the #^@% out of here! Everyone is dead!”
He shot the man point blank in the face and ran over his body as it fell. Reaching the back door of the van, he yanked it open and found that the inside was stacked with large wooden crates. Suddenly oblivious to the sound of gunfire, Dyce opened one of the crates and looked inside. It was filled with money — cash and negotiable bonds of all kinds. He smiled.
Blood sprayed all over the money. Dyce looked at it, puzzled. He raised a blood-soaked hand from his belly, turned, and stared in horror.
The last shot dropped him.
Elsewhere, McGraw ran like a wild man across the deck, heading for the hatch and shooting in all directions as though he had eyes in the back of his head. He saw Hurtz climbing onto the deck of the boat. Mouthpiece wrestled with himself as to what to do, finally making a break for the other side of the boathouse. The crane nearby continued to swing. A single bullet hit one of the barrels on the suspended pallet, and gasoline began pouring out through the bullet-hole.
Hurtz found the hatch and went below, shooting a man on his way up the stairs. McGraw jumped on board and ran down behind him.
Mouthpiece arrived at the top of the ramp leading from the dock to the pier. He ducked down behind a guard rail beside the ramp, then turned to see Dyce’s bloody body next to the van. He looked around frantically, frozen in terror. It was quiet, except for the sounds of screaming far off in the bowels of the boat and the hum of the crane.
Tarantino’s office, Friday, April 25, 1986 — present day:
“Why didn’t you run?” Count Helmet von Stauffen asked.
“I froze up,” replied Mouthpiece. “I thought about Stanton and how he looked when we buried him, then I thought about Hurtz. It looked like he might pull it off.” A sudden, sharp knock on the door startled him.
Captain Benedict Tarantino stepped in, motioning for von Stauffen to come outside. Tarantino led the Count back to the other room where the SS super-agent Red Torpedo was waiting for him and handed him a thick manila folder. Von Stauffen thumbed through it.
“A boy came across a body on the beach this morning,” said the Torpedo. “Thrown clear when the boat burned. Shot once in the head. Two Gestapo men just identified him.”
“And?” queried the Black Knight.
“His name was Abdul Rabbani,” said Tarantino. “A petty smuggler out of Afghanistan. He was arrested in Hamburg last year for trafficking. He escaped to Italy and was picked up in Verona. They were setting up his extradition when he escaped again. But hear this — Elsa Schneider was called in to advise the proceedings.”
“Herr Shillington,” said von Stauffen. The Red Torpedo nodded.
“I called Hamburg, and they faxed me a copy of Rabbani’s testimony,” said Tarantino. “He was a rat.”
Von Stauffen pulled out page after page from the file. “A big #^@%ing rat.”
“Abdul was strongly opposed to going back to prison,” continued Tarantino. “So much so that he informed on close to fifty people. Guess who he named as a finale?”
Von Stauffen found one sheet, noticing a paragraph was highlighted. “Baron Povalsky.”
“There’s more,” said the Red Torpedo.
A few moments later, Count von Stauffen walked back into Tarantino’s office and sat down in front of Mouthpiece. He smiled.
“I’ll tell you what I know,” said von Stauffen. “Stop me when it sounds familiar.” Mouthpiece looked confused. “There were no drugs on that boat.”
The boat on the Venice pier, Friday, April 18, 1986 — seven days ago:
Wolfgang Hurtz wove through tight, low-ceiling corridors, looking in every cabin, working his way toward the bottom of the boat.
Elsewhere in the boat, Red McGraw tore through the corridors, seemingly less interested in securing the cargo as he was in killing everyone on board. He screamed like a lunatic, shooting everything in his path, killing some men with his bare hands, shooting others, stabbing others still with a knife he had brought along.
In a corridor in the boat, an Afghan named Rashid half-pushed, half-helped another Afghan, a thin and sweaty-looking man in a checkered bathrobe, toward a cabin at the end of the hall. He said, “You — stay quiet.”
The man in the robe was trembling, stricken with fear. “He’s here. I saw him on deck. That’s him, I’m telling you that’s him. I know he’s here. You can’t understand. That’s him. That’s him.”
“Shut up,” Rashid said, pushing him inside the cabin and shutting the door.
A stereo playing softly in the room mixed with the man’s panicked breathing. The man in the robe screamed through the closed door, his voice echoing off of the metal bulkheads, “I’m telling you, it’s Baron Povalsky!”
Rashid stood outside the door of the cabin and turned to face down the hall. Off in some other part of the boat, he could hear McGraw wailing like a banshee and the ever-less frequent sound of gunshots.
Elsewhere, Hurtz reached the four-foot-high door to the hold and found it was open slightly. Finding it strange, he cautiously pushed the door open and stepped inside to find that the hold was empty. Hearing a noise behind him, he wheeled around to fire but saw McGraw in the door, his face completely spattered with blood.
“Did you hear what I heard?” said Red McGraw.
“What happened to you?” asked Hurtz.
McGraw said, “Baron Povalsky is on the boat.”
“I heard somebody screaming his nuts off,” said McGraw. “He said the Baron was on the boat.”
“Are you all right?” Hurtz asked, studying the blood all over him.
McGraw rubbed some of the blood off with his sleeve. “Huh? Oh, it’s not mine.”
“There’s no opium,” said Hurtz.
McGraw looked around the hold as though he would see four and a half tons of drugs in some corner where Hurtz might have missed it. The two men looked at one another. There was a long, pregnant silence before McGraw said, “Let’s get the #^@% out of here.”
“Right behind you.”
Hurtz and McGraw stepped out of the hold, walking slowly and cautiously back from where they came. They heard the sounds of footsteps running on the deck above and the occasional hollered phrase in Afghan.
“Where’s Dyce?” asked Hurtz.
“I don’t think he made it to the boat,” said Hurtz. They came to a corner where they could go left or right. “I can’t remember which way.”
“Right–” began McGraw.
Gunshots filled the hallway from behind them. They did not stop to turn around, and Hurtz went left, while McGraw went right, running in opposite directions with the sound of gunfire right behind them.
Elsewhere, Rashid squinted and cocked his head. Knowing someone was coming, he raised a pistol and crouched by the door. The man in the bathrobe sat on the foot of the bed watching the door, hearing the sounds of fighting somewhere not too far away. He crawled over the bed and squeezed between it and the bulkhead, with only the top of his head exposed. He started to cry.
He heard two shots just outside in the hall. Suddenly, the door burst open, and Rashid collapsed in a heap on the floor, a bullet hole in his eye. A figure loomed in the doorway.
The man in the bathrobe looked up at the shadowy figure and said, “I told them nothing.”
The man in the robe fell dead.
The boat was quiet now. Wolfgang Hurtz walked out onto the deck, looking out over the pier to see Mouthpiece standing in the middle of the carnage, frozen. Their eyes met. Hurtz waved at him, trying to shoo him away.
Mouthpiece hesitated before finally moving toward the van with the money. The cripple looked back over his shoulder and saw Hurtz, who saw him looking and waved again, hurrying him along. Mouthpiece turned away and focused on the van.
Hurtz heard a noise behind him and swung around, only to point his gun at McGraw again. He put the gun down.
McGraw smiled and slowly walked across the deck toward Hurtz. Something was not right about him. “Strangest thing…” he mumbled, then slumped to the deck. Hurtz rushed over to him, knelt down, and saw a pipe sticking out of the back of McGraw’s neck.
On the pier, Mouthpiece approached the van, stepping over Dyce’s body. He closed the back doors of the van, then looked to his left at the huge loading crane. He glanced upward along the giant arm as it swung steadily on. Somewhere, off in the distance, he could hear the sound of sirens.
Hurtz knelt by McGraw, trembling with rage as he bent down to inspect his body more closely.
Mouthpiece suddenly realized something. He turned and went to call out a warning to Hurtz, but he was too late.
Hurtz never saw the crane coming. The pallet of barrels hit him square in the back and sent him flying into the wheel house of the boat. He was still for a moment. Finally, he tried to get up but found that he could not move his legs.
Mouthpiece ran down the ramp as fast as he could, coming to a rope ladder hanging down the side of the boat. He suddenly stopped dead in his tracks, looking up at the boat. From where he stood, he could just make out the figure of a tall, thin man walking along the edge of the deck. He moved quietly and calmly in the shadows toward the crane, looking out of place in his expensive suit.
Something about this man terrified him.