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Karpool Killer (Short)
by David Nelson (d.nelson.10@hotmail.com)

Rated: PG-13   Genre: Drama   User Review: ***1/2
A group of commuters suspect their new rider is the notorious North End serial killer.

This screenplay is copyrighted to its author. All rights reserved. This screenplay may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of the author.


Street lamps throw soft light over the darkened front yard
of the Smith two story suburban home. A MAILBOX with "Smith"
engraved is planted next to the driveway.

A dog barks somewhere as an older four door sedan slowly
drives by. An arm extends from the window of the car,
launching a rolled newspaper at the front door. Inside the
house, MUSIC clicks on.
BEN SMITH, early 50's, thinning brown hair, average face and
features, quietly pushes the snooze BUTTON on the clock
radio next to his head. The MUSIC stops. The clock reads

Smith lays awake staring at the ceiling. Next to him, his
wife, ALLIE SMITH, stirs. After he glances over at his
wife's mop of long blond hair, he gets up and pads into the
adjacent bathroom.

Looking back at his wife, he turns on the light inside the
bathroom and shuts the door.
Wearing underwear and a t-shirt, Ben wipes steam off the
mirror. He runs a comb through his wet hair, then picks up a
straight razor and begins shaving his lather covered face. A
small RADIO on the counter is turn on.
                       BATHROOM RADIO
In local news, police have
uncovered another body in a wooded
area next to Interstate 5 in the
north end. While not confirmed by
authorities, eye witnesses say the
unidentified female corpse showed
signs of mutilation to their hands
and mouth similar to the remains
of three other murder victims
found in the same general area
since last summer. Police will
only confirm the body showed signs
of trauma.


Ben, showing no emotion as he wipes his face clean with a
towel, shuts off the radio and light, then leaves the
Sitting at the breakfast bar now in a suit and tie, Ben lays
down the newspaper and takes a final drink of coffee from an
oversize mug. He gets up and carries a small carton of half
and half over to the refrigerator, opens the door and puts
the milk inside.

Amongst various photographs and coupons on the refrigerator
is a printed FLYER advertising "Van Pool Opening from
Northend Park and Ride. Leaves at 6:30am to Downtown.
Contact Ben Smith at 555-512-6961." Hand writing over the
text reads, "Ian Pierce will join us Monday, September 5th,

Ben closes the refrigerator, walks past the breakfast bar,
grabs a dark raincoat and briefcase and leaves out a side
door. The NEWSPAPER, left on the counter, has a small
article below the fold, with the CAPTION, "Police Still have
No Suspects in String of Northend Murders."
Ben pushes a lighted button which activates the garage door
opener and overhead light. Inside the garage sits a 8
passenger van. Ben walks to the back, opens the rear door,
throws his briefcase in, stares in the back a moment, then
slams the door.

He walks over to the drivers door, climbs in, starts the van
and drives out into the dark morning. The garage door closes
behind him.
Driving down a dark suburban road, Ben adjusts the RADIO,
stopping on a station playing music from the 1940's. He
settles in, tapping his fingers on the steering wheel to the
Dawn breaks on the horizon as Ben pulls the van up next to
MARK HOGE. Hoge, early 60's, is dressed similar to Ben.
Hoge opens the door and climbs in. After closing his door,


Ben pulls away from the curb and joins light traffic
entering a business district.
Morning, Ben
You get coffee yet this morning?
Had a warm up at home.
I've got us covered if you're
You know Bea doesn't like us going
Like I said, I've got us covered.
Mark pats his large BRIEFCASE. Ben smiles
I could use a second cup.
You're the driver, Ben.
Both men grin as Ben takes a right into a large parking lot.
A young beautiful brunette in a bikini top hands two large
coffees to Ben. He hands the cups to Mark and gives the girl
a twenty dollar bill. She gives him a big smile.
Keep the change, Tiffany. You've
earned it with that outfit.
Thanks, Mr. Smith. Oh, wait a
minute. We've got something for
you today.


Tiffany disappears into the back of the small drive up
coffee shack, then returns holding a red shirt. She hands
the gift to Ben.
Congratulations, Mr. Smith. This
is our 5 year anniversary shirt
for our special, long time
customers. Gosh, I can't believe
I've been serving you for that
long. Anyway, we sure appreciated
the business.
      (takes the shirt)
Uh..thanks. Well, see you
Ben stuffs the shirt under Mark's front seat.
Ben pulls the van back into traffic. While he changes lanes,
Mark pulls two Starbucks CUPS out of his briefcase. He hands
one to Ben and puts the other over his Bare-istas LOGO'ed
cup. Ben follows suit. Both men take drinks from their cups,
then set them into the console cup holders.

They ride in silence. After a few moments, Ben hits his turn
signal and pulls over in front of a 7-11. While idling, BEA
MCCAMP, late 60's, white, large, with several bags, opens
the side door and struggles into the second row of seats.

After taking forever to get situated, she finally shuts the
door. Ben and Mark exchange glances, then Ben pulls back
into traffic.

The three ride in silence while Bea looks around. She
settles her gaze on the two Starbucks cups. She shoots the
men a suspicious look.
Stopped at Starbucks, huh?
The men grunt.
That's certainly a better cup of
coffee than what you usually show
up with.
Rain starts to hit the windshield. Ben flips on the wipers.


Rain again.
No, blessed God, no. Ben, you know
what rain does to his hair, don't
It will be fine, Bea.
I don't understand people like
him, Ben. For heavens sake,
doesn't he have any respect for
what God has given him. Why on
earth would anyone decide, on
purpose, to look like THAT? Well,
It's a short ride, Bea.
That's easy for you to say, Ben.
At least you and Mark always get
the front. Try living with that
smell when you're back here. NOT
pretty, Ben, not pretty.
The threesome ride in silence while rain pounds the
windshield. When Ben hits the turn signal, Bea cranes her
neck looking out the window. Disgust crosses her face.
Oh lord in heaven. He's got HER
with him today to boot. I'm not
sitting next to them, Ben, I'm
Ben pulls over next to a bus shelter. JAMES NAUGHTY, early
20's, pale, huge dread lock hairdo and beard opens the door.
Standing behind him is TIESHA WALLACE, early 20's, very dark
skin, also long dreadlocks.

Both sport soaking wet hippy clothes. As James starts
climbing in, Bea shots him a withering look. After a beat,
James moves to the third row of the van. Tiesha follows
where the settle in after slamming the door shut.

Ben pulls back into traffic.


Morning everyone.
Everyone grunts a return greeting.
Morning, Bea.
Bea stares out the window, a handkerchief over her nose.
James and Tiesha share grins.
So, Bea. Isn't that guy from your
funky bible thumping holy roller
church starting with us today.
Yeah Bea, didn't you snag us
another loner to join the group
for the ride in?
      (talking into her
Ian Pierce is NOT a loner! He's
just new to the area, that's all.
And as co-chair of the parish
membership committee, I think
having him join our car pool is a
great way to introduce him to,
well, the variety of people from
the north end. So he can decide
just what sorts he wants to
congregate with.
You mean like when you brought in
Jenny Pierce.
Mouth breather, or Owen Rogers.
B.O, and John Carlson.
James and Tiesha smile at Mark's jumping in.


You mean tap tap.
Yeah, tap, tap.
John had a high stress job,
nothing any of you would know
about. He had a little tick,
that's all.
A little? He tapped that damn
class ring of his against the
window every day for three months.
Drove us all crazy.
A fact you made abundantly clear
to him, several times I might add.
Probably the reason he up and left
us. And probably why all the other
new people I brought in that you
mentioned also took off without
even a good bye.
You know that's not true, Bea.
They all called me personally with
very reasonable excuses for why
they were leaving us.
Bea ignores Ben as he again pull over. HARVEY BLOWERS, thin,
hooded eyes, late 50's, climbs in and takes the fourth row
behind James and Tiesha.

Everyone shares uneasy looks. Ben pulls back into traffic.
After a few moments, Harvey pulls a large sardine can out of
his jacket and cracks the LID. Everyone else, in unison,
covers their noses.

In between bites, Harvey pulls out a small portable radio
and turns on a news station. James and Tiesha shake their
                       HARVEY'S RADIO
In an update to the story we've
been reporting since last summer,
police now have narrowed their
search for the North End serial
killer to various park and ride
lots along arterials bordering
I-5. Using sophisticated mapping


                       HARVEY'S RADIO (cont'd)
programs and evidence gathered
from the area, police have now
stepped up patrols and are asking
commuters to report anything out
of the ordinary to authorities.
There have still not been positive
ID's on any of the remains and
police are baffled that no missing
person's reports have been filed
for the deceased. In other news..
Harvey clicks off the radio.
Shame about those folks.
What's that, Harvey?
I said it's a shame about them
folks, gettin' killed and all.
Strange though, no one coming
forward. Kinda makes ya wonder, ya
I mean, that's four people, killed
over the last few months, all from
our neck of the woods, but no
one's missing them. What kind of
people wouldn't have friends, or
family, for that matter, wondering
why Jim or Jill ain't checking in,
sitting down for dinner, walking
the dog, and what not?
BEA stirs, and gazes out the window, a far away look on her
I've been wondering about that
too. Like, wouldn't someone, you
know, be pretty freaked out if,
like, their sister or brother or
whatever, just wasn't there


It is kinda weird. These poor
people were all from around where
we live, but I'm not missing
anybody. How about any of you, you
missing anyone?
More silence. HARVEY stares at the back of Jame's head.
See, that's what I'm talking
about. It's almost like these
people didn't know anybody, like
they were loners or something.
OK, OK, I think we've had enough
death talk for today's drive,
A few grunts.
Thank you. Now Bea, tell us about
Ian. Anything we should know
before I pick him up?
Him and Allison.
That's right, Ian and Allison are
at the same stop. So how about it,
Bea? What's the story?
ALLISON RYDER sits on a bench in an open air pick up
shelter. Ryder, mid 30's, blond, pretty, reads a book.
Suddenly, IAN PIERCE appears, standing next to her. Pierce
is early 40's, tall, gaunt, with thinning dirty brown hair.
He wears a long black rain coat over black pants. Stubble
covers his chin.

Allison shifts her gaze from her book to Ian's face. He
gives her a blank look back. Allison snugs her large purse
up close next to her body and tries to concentrate on her
book again.

After a moment, a short HONK sounds. Both Pierce and Allison
look up towards the van as Ben pulls up in front of them.
Allison quickly gets up, clutching her purse, and hustles


over to the van door. She throws it open and climbs in.

Just as she pulls the door to close it, Ian grabs the
outside handle and pulls it back open. Allison panics.
Ian sticks his face in and gives everyone a quick look. He
settles on Bea.
Hello, Bea.
Welcome, Ian. Please, climb in,
we'll make room. Allison?
Bea and Allison both move over to make room for Ian. Ian
looks to the back and sees Harvey alone in the back seat.
Harvey gives Ian a scowl.
There's room in the back. I'll
just grab a spot there.
Ian squeezes past Tiesha and Jame's row and stops at
Harvey's row. Harvey hesitates, then picks up his radio and
slides over. Ben watches in the mirror. After Ian settles
in, Ben pulls back out into traffic.
So, uh, Ian, Bea tells us you are
a consultants, working on
That's right.
Silence again.
I do some consulting work. What
kind of consulting do you do?
I do strategic planning for
foreign governments, mostly
embassy work.


Well, that certainly sounds
interesting, doesn't it, Tiesha.
Uh, sure. So, uh, what embassy are
you working with now? I mean, if
you're allowed to say.
      (hard stare at
South Africa.
South Africa, huh?
      (strong response)
You have an issue with that?
More silence.
So, Ian, did you grow up around
Ian moved to the north end a few
months ago. He started coming to
our parish shortly after arriving.
      (eyes Ian)
So you must have known Jenny
Pierce? She was from Bea's church
Tiesha and James exchange nervous looks.
Not sure, maybe.
John Carlson and Owen Rogers
attended that church as well.


Never met them.
Hope you last longer than they
did. Not easy gettin' new riders
all the time.
Leave him alone, Harvey.
I don't mean any hard feelings
toward Ian, just hoping he lasts,
that's all.
I'd be watching myself with that
talk, friend.
You takin' offense?
Just saying I'd hold my tongue, if
you know what's good for ya.
Allison squirms while Ben slows down for a traffic jam.
Why are you slowing down, Ben?
What's going on?
Looks like something may have
happened up ahead.
Outside the van, the freeway traffic alert board scrolls
"Tune to 1650 for Emergency Bulletin." Mark notices the
You gonna check that?
It's gotta be a stall. Happens all
the time.
Would you check it please, Ben.


Yeah, Ben, I really can't be late
I'm sure.
I've got it, Ben.
Harvey turns on his old fashion transistor RADIO. After
adjusting the dial, the static clears and a hollow voice
fills the van.
                       HARVEY'S RADIO
This is a State Patrol emergency
advisory. The patrol has set up a
checkpoint on southbound highway
99 after receiving a positive
identification on human remains
discovered at a north end park and
ride. Preliminary information
coming in from investigators has
confirmed that the victim had
recently moved to the north end
from Atlanta.
John Carlson was from Atlanta.
                       HARVEY'S RADIO
Police have confirmed the victim
was a consultant who traveled to
downtown as part of a carpool. The
police are screening all potential
commuters as part of their rapidly
expanding investigation. More
information will be released as
their inquiries continues. This
message will repeat.
Harvey turns off the radio. Through the silence, a clicking
sound fills the air. The CLICKING gets louder. Harvey
glances sideways at Ian. Ian's LIPS are slightly parted, his
TEETH clicking.
What do you think, Mark, try to go
around it?


Don't you think we should talk to
the police?
Yeah, Ben, I think we should try
to get to the police, don't you?
I don't know what the fuss is
about. We all need to get to work,
Ben. I say we try to go around.
James, Tiesha?
Whatever's faster, Ben.
I need to get in early today, so,
uh, skipping the third degree from
some rookie traffic cop sounds
right to me.
Well, sounds like...
      (cuts off Ben)
Go around.
What's that?
I said I don't want to be slowed
down by the police.
Why not?
Why don't you just worry about
your day, 'kay? And I'll worry
about mine.
And what the hell is that suppose
to mean?


Think you're tough, do ya. With
your Carib Jamaican poser rasta
doo. Look, today is NOT the day we
should be slowing down for any
police, GOT IT!
Please, Ian, don't be like that.
We all try and get along in here,
uh, don't we, James?
      (under her breath)
Yeah, right, Bea.
Ben moves the van forward with the traffic. Police cars
cross the road ahead, diverting traffic into the two center
Well, too late now anyway. Here we
are. Looks like we'll be through
in a minute.
Everyone is silent as they look ahead to the POLICE OFFICER
talking to drivers as they pull up to him. Ben looks in his
rear view MIRROR back at IAN. IAN sits stone faced ahead.
Hard rain starts to pummel the WINDSHIELD while they wait.
From the back seat, Ian starts again. Click, click. Click,
The officer, now drenched, lets the car ahead of Ben go and
motions for him to pull forward. Ben moves ahead, stops and
puts down the window.
Morning, officer.
                       POLICE OFFICER
Morning sir.
The policeman glances back at the full van.
                       POLICE OFFICER
Morning, everyone. Full up, I see.
That's right. Heading into town
for work.


                       POLICE OFFICER
We're checking every carpool or
commuter group. Seeing if you're
missing anyone, anything unusual,
stuff like that.
Allison starts to open her mouth, Mark cuts her off.
Nothing unusual here, except maybe
our driver's choice of tie today.
A few nervous laughs. The officer glances at Ben's golf tee
imprinted TIE.
                       POLICE OFFICER
I see.
The officer takes another look into the van. The car behind
Ben HONKS. Thunder and lightning BOOM and FLASH outside.
The officer looks up at the sky then back down into the van.
Will, uh, there be anything else,
officer? We're trying not to be
late today.
                       POLICE OFFICER
Have a nice day, folks, move
The officer motions for them to move along. Ben pulls away
into the much lighter traffic.
You handled that well, my friend,
very well.
Ben gives Ian another look in the mirror.
So ya never said why you were so
keen on skipping out on the stop
by the constable?
Don't recall you stating your
reluctance either, mister?
Harvey and Ian glare at each other. Ben puts on the turn
signal and starts to pull over.


Here we go, James and Tiesha.
Ben stops next to a strip mall. James and Tiesha crouch
stand and work their way to the van door. IAN gives Tiesha
another hard stare, which she doesn't see. They open the
door, slam it shut and quickly hustle away, disappearing
into the rain. Ben pulls back into traffic.
Silence continues to fill the van as Ben pulls over again.
Before he can say anything, Allison is out the door.
Everyone watches her go while Ben enters traffic again.
So whose's off last, Bea?
Actually, it's probably you, Ian,
as the embassy buildings are a
little south of downtown, isn't
that right, Ben. Ian is kind of
down by your office.
Uh, yeah, I think you're right.
That gonna work for you, Ian?
Click, click, click.
Well, this is me.
Ben cuts over and drives up on a curb. Harvey gathers up his
stuff and moves towards the door. As he exiting, Ian speaks
Be watching yourself in this part
of town. Never know who you might
run into, friend.
Harvey hesitates, then steps to the ground, slams the door,
and strolls over towards an auto garage. Ben moves back into
That's an odd one, Bea. I'd be
watching him.


No argument there. Him and that
blasted radio. And those God awful
sardines. I don't know why you
don't say anything to him, Ben. It
must drive you crazy.
Oh, it doesn't touch some of the
other, uh, quirks, that some
people have, Bea. It just never
bothered me.
Ben pulls over and Bea starts to gather up her various bags.
Mark also grabs his briefcase.
      (under his breath)
You call me when you get to the
office, you understand?
I will be fine, really.
Bea opens the door and steps out.
Have good day, Ian. I hope you
like our little group.
Nothing from Ian.
Uh, OK, then, bye.
Bea slams the door and walks away toward an office building.
Mark opens his door and starts to get out.
You'll call?
Ben gives a slight nod. Mark climbs out and shuts the door.
He waves as Ben pulls back into traffic. Ahead a light turns
red and Ben slows to a stop. Click, click, click from the
back seat. Ben scowls and looks in his rear view mirror.

Startled, Ben does a double take as Ian has now moved to the
row directly behind Ben. Ian stares at Ben using the mirror.


All sorts in your little car pool,
Just hard working people, trying
to get to work, that's all.
Must be tough, always trying to
find a replacement, you know,
sharing the cost and all.
Finding the right sort of people
is a challenge. Pretty tight
quarters, to ride with the same
folks every day.
I'll bet.
While Ben watches the light, Ian reaches forward and pulls
the Bare-ista's shirt out from under Mark's seat. He holds
it up.
Interesting shirt. Never would
have figured a guy like you for
the taudry stuff.
Ben glances at the shirt as Ian bundles it up in his hands
and starts twisting it tight.
Oh, uh, that must be Marks. He
loves that place.
Oh course.
The light finally turns green and Ben starts moving with
traffic. Behind him, Ian has stretched the twisted tee shirt
tight between both hands. Click, click, click, click.
I think this is you, embassy row.
Ben pulls up to a drop zone. Several uniformed guards mingle
around the front of the building. One tries to stare through
the rain drenched side van window.


Ian looks out and meets the steady gaze of the guard. After
a moment, he slowly leans forward, his face next to Ben's.
Haven't make up my mind yet if
this is the group for me. I'll let
Bea know.
Ben and Ian both look forward out the front windshield as
the wipers beat a steady cadence. After several beats, Ian
drops the tee shirt between the seats, opens the side door
and is gone. Ben watches him go, checks traffic, and pulls
away from the curb.
Ben turns from the street and pulls into a multi-level
parking garage. He takes a ticket from the machine. While
waiting for the arm to raise, he turns on the radio to his
40's station. MUSIC again fills the van. The arm raises and
Ben drives up a ramp.
Ben arrives on the top open air floor of the parking garage.
A couple other cars are parked on the otherwise deserted
space. Ben slowly backs up into a spot. After a moment
listening to the music, the announcer breaks in.
                       VAN RADIO
..police have now released the
identity of the person whose
remains were discovered near the
north end park and ride earlier
this week. The victim is John
Carlson, age 53, originally from
Atlanta, Georgia. Carlson, who was
single, had moved to the state
last summer, and been doing
freelance work in the city.
Through extensive investigation by
Atlanta police, they were finally
able to locate a distant aunt who
was able to verify his identity.
As for any suspects or a motive,
police are continuing their
investigation and ask the public
to call if they have any
Ben turns off the radio and stares out, his face
expressionless. After a beat, his gets out of the van.


Ben walks around to the back of the van. He takes in the
view, then opens the back door. Inside on the left is his
BRIEFCASE. Laying out across the entire back is a Ping
labeled soft sided travel golf club carrying BAG. Sitting on
top of the bag are two empty sardine CANS. Ben frowns and
Staring at the cans, Ben's expression changes and he nods
his head slightly. He opens his briefcase, extracts a pair
of surgical gloves and puts them on. He then unzips the golf
bag in the middle, picks up the cans and drops them in the

After another moment, he runs his hand over the top and
front of the head rest where Ian was sitting. He looks at
his gloved HAND, which is now covered with DANDRUFF FLAKES
and stray HAIRS.

After checking the parking lot, Ben reaches inside the bag
with his other hand and pulls out a human arm wearing a dark
coat. The pale HAND on the arm has the FINGERS and THUMBS
removed up to the first knuckle. The ring FINGER still holds
a large class RING.

Ben wipes the hair and dandruff on the coat sleeve, then
zips the arm back in the bag. He removes the gloves, drops
them off the top of the garage into an open dumpster below,
grabs his briefcase and shuts the doors.
Ben starts walking across the parking lots towards a set of
      (to himself,
Tap, tap. Smelly bastard. Weazy
Ben takes a few more steps, then stops, thinking.
Click, click? F'in freaks. Stupid
quirks. Smelly hair? Stinking
Ben grins, starts walking again.
I'll take care of you.


Ben arrives at the elevator. He pushes the button. The doors
open and he walks in. The cell PHONE on his belt RINGS. He
answers the phone and pushes the elevator BUTTON.
                       BEN (os)
Hi honey. Dinner? Yeah, I'll be
there. Just a couple stops to make
on the way home. Gardening today?
The shovel? Uh, I'll see if I can
find it. Love you too, dear. Good


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From Cecilio Hernandez Date 1/27/2011 ***1/2
Nice twist

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